SPRAGUE, Conn. (WTNH)– Underneath a red, white, and blue blanket with an image of an American Eagle on it, a statue waited to be unveiled.
“The detail of her uniform is amazing,” said State Senator Cathy Osten, (D) Sprague who is a veteran herself.
Dozens gathered at the Town of Sprague War Memorial Park for the unveiling of a statue which is believed to be the first in the state.
“Women have been in combat all the way back to the revolutionary war,” said Sen. Osten. “They just haven’t been identified. Some of them pretended to be men.”
It was in the 1990s that more job classes were opened up to women.
“The fastest growing demographic of veterans in America are women,” said Rep. Joe Courtney, (D) Connecticut.
The statue which honors women in the military was seven years in the making. American Legion Post 85 in Baltic raised $50,000 to make this day a reality.
“We are proud to be the first to recognize women in the military. Let’s give yourself another round of applause,” Sen. Osten told the crowd.
The bronze statue depicts a female soldier paying homage to a fallen comrade. Her helmet and weapon are by her side.
“It’s really nice to see the women being acknowledged,” said veteran Lois Cole of Hebron who fought back tears.
“To finally see women are being recognized in my state in a tangible way that I can come visit and look at and see myself represented in that young lady is powerful,” said veteran Carlita Cotton of Mansfield.
Cotton who served in the Air Force for twenty years as a Russian Linguist says all too often she was mistaken for the spouse or dependent of a serviceman.
“Sometimes the first question is why are you parking there? That’s the veterans parking,” said Cotton. “I’m the veteran.”
Surrounding the adjacent Fallen Soldier monument are the names of Sprague residents who were either were killed in action or died while prisoners of war.
“There are Civil War, from WWI, WWII, Korea,” said Tom Coletti, Adjutant of American Legion Post 85.
The Fallen Soldier monument was installed a few years ago and is joined now by the first female soldier monument.
“We are hoping that this will start a trend,” said Sen. Osten.