Brownsville Veterans Park receives first statue honoring women in armed forces
It has been one year in the making, but Brownsville Veterans Park is now home to the county's first statue honoring women in the military.
"It just represents our past, present and future female veterans of the Rio Grande Valley," said Veteran Females United Vice President Jessica Arriaga.
The 12-foot, $35,000 granite statue was unveiled to the public Saturday and despite some weekend showers, it didn't dampen the members of the Veteran Females United.
"It was emotional. To actually to now like [Arriaga] said, it's not a competition but to represent us. All the females that have served, serving right now and in the future," said Membership Coordinator Noemi Sanchez.
The statue has no name in efforts to remember all women in the military, rather than one specific person.
The group says for years, women have been stereotyped as the ones who stay at home while their husbands fight off in wars. The statue now serves as a reminder that women can and have risked their lives on the front lines, just as their male counterparts.
"For us it's a breakthrough. For us, it's an honor. For us it's a lot of our families don't realize what we do," said Arriaga.
Residents say they're happy to see women finally being recognized for the sacrifices they make.
"One of my goals is to empower women and I think this is our time, so I'm all for it," said resident Marta De Yturbe.
The Brownsville-based group currently has more than 30 members from all branches of the military. They hope the statue will now serve as a memento for those who have served, and as a beacon of hope for younger women looking to make a difference in their lives.
"We want those girls out here to say 'I can be that, I can do that'," said Arriaga.
The statue was paid for by Charlie Clark Nissan and the granite was imported from Italy.