Women’s History Month closes

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gaddie
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs


EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Women’s History Month closed with a ceremony March 29.

In keeping with year’s theme, “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” the observance emboldened women to commit to eliminating bias and discrimination and encouraged inclusion in an often-uneven playing field.

Col. Lindsay Freeman, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, gave the keynote speech.

Freeman said the power of women’s stories can result in change.

“We have made so many amazing and positive changes, just in the time I‘ve been in the military,” said the 17-year Air Force veteran.  “But it’s not for us to rest on that.  We don’t stand on the shoulders of our giants, just to relax and stand in the sun.  We should use the strength they’ve given us as a starting point to see how much further we need to go.”    

In one example, as a new Air Force Academy cadet in 2003, Freeman recalled marching up a ramp to the terrazzo and seeing the words “Bring Me Men” overhead, leading to the upper campus.

She said those words came from a poem written by Sam Walter Foss in 1895.  The poem addressed America’s expansion and encouraged men to contribute it.  It didn’t include women, she said.

Freeman said in singling out those words, the context of the poem was lost. 

She said those words were finally removed from the terrazzo, due to the stories and tenacity of “The 80s Ladies,” women from the first graduating class of female academy cadets in 1980, who fought for change in the Air Force. 

Freeman said 21 years later, she was part of the first group of women who marched up the ramp and saw the words “Bring Me Men” removed.  They were replaced with the Air Force’s core values – “Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.”

“It took 27 years for that change to come,” she said.  “It took that long to realize there were also women marching up that ramp to begin their journey of service to their country.”

In conclusion, Freeman encouraged the audience to tell their own stories and continue making change.

“We shouldn’t hold back and blend in to survive,” she said.  “What we have in our hearts, in our experiences and what we’ve lived through is powerful, and we should share that.”