ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — The first monument dedicated to women military workers and their service dogs in the nation’s capital was unveiled at the Women’s Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday.
“It’s absolutely fantastic…It sits on about a 2 and a half foot high base, and then you’ve got a life-sized woman kneeling down, looking dead into the eyes of her military working dog,” said Phyllis Wilson, President of the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
California-based artist Susan Bahary was commissioned to create the sculpture, entitled “The Pledge,” by the U.S. War Dogs Association, a non-profit dedicated to honoring the history of military service dogs. The name comes from the promise between a handler and her dog to protect each other in combat.
“I hope that it will inspire, it will educate, will do justice, and it will be a source of healing. And perhaps, even an inspiration,” said Bahary.
Wilson and Bahary say that they want spectators to realize the bravery and sacrifice both woman and dog make for the country.
“It’s one of the most deadly professions in the military, both the dog and the dog handler lose their lives, or are horribly maimed,” said Wilson.
The unveiling of the statue also comes during the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women in the U.S. The right to vote.
“That was part of the genesis of why we felt that this was the perfect time,” said Wilson
The statue serves as a timely dedication to women who serve, and their loyal companions by their side.
“There’s a tremendous bond, maybe the strongest kind there is, between a military working dog handler and her dog. It’s because their lives literally depend upon each other,” said Bahary.
The sculpture is now open to the public to view at the Women’s Memorial.