Bipartisan legislation that designates June 12 of each year as Women Veterans Appreciation Day has been signed by Missouri’s governor.
The bill was sponsored by State Rep. David Tyson Smith (D-Columbia), at the request of Mission Promise Kept’s executive director at Stephens College. Smith’s late grandmother served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. He tells 939 the Eagle that she would be beside herself, with the new law.
“You know she was such a patriot, she loved her country. She used to have little war sets with model tanks and planes and everything. I learned about World War II from her, and played games with her about naval ships and naval warfare,” Representative Smith says.
Representative Tyson Smith’s grandmother also worked on bombers when they came in. He says he’s grateful for all of the sacrifices of U.S. servicewomen throughout the decades.
“So the bill just honors women veterans for their service. It shows them appreciation and gratitude. Sometimes they haven’t been treated equally over the past several decades, so it kind of evens the playing field. But just it honors them, and so I’m excited for so many of them and their families,” says Smith.
He tells 939 the Eagle that June 12 comes from former President and Missourian Harry Truman. Smith says June 12, 1948 was the day that President Truman allowed all women to serve permanently in the U.S. armed forces.
Meantime, Representative Smith is giving a shout out to two GOP legislators for helping him pass the bipartisan legislation. He says State Sen. Jason Bean (R-Peach Orchard) and House Veterans Committee chair Rep. Dave Griffith (R-Jefferson City) were key allies.
“It’s not happening without Senator Bean or Representative Griffith. You have to have friends on the other side of the aisle to get anything done in Jefferson City. So yeah, Rep. Griffith has been great,” says Smith.
Air Force veteran and Mission Promise Kept executive director Elizabeth Herrera joined Governor Mike Parson and Representative Smith at the recent bill-signing ceremony.