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Meeting planners looking for a unique meeting imbued with national history should consider the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.
Visitors are immediately impressed by beautiful views and the building’s Court of Valor with its reflecting pool and fountain. Every Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the Court of Valor is the site of formal military honors, and a woman from each military service tells her story and pays tribute to women who have served before.
This memorial is the only major one of its kind in the United States (and the world!) to showcase the service of women in the military, preserving moments and stories of military women from the Revolutionary War through the present. The structure features 16 exhibit alcoves for permanent and rotating exhibits, as well as an interactive computerized register of female servicemembers.
The half-moon shaped, historic venue offers multiple meeting areas for events, as well as the chance to rent the entire facility. The 33,000-square-foot education center features a 196-seat theater, conference room and a gallery with unique artifacts like the only female Medal of Honor recipient’s walking stick. The gallery holds up to 500 for a reception or 300 for a seated dinner. Wi-Fi, television screen and a small catering kitchen are available. Groups planning luncheons, conferences, military ceremonies, July Fourth fireworks watching parties and film premieres have found the venue an affordable option, said Donna Houle, memorial director.
Between sessions, visitors will want to explore the memorial’s upper terrace, adjacent to the cemetery’s hallowed grounds, with stunning views of the Lincoln Memorial. Thirteen quotations by and about military women are etched into an arc of glass tablets on the terrace, which, as the sun passes over, reflect down onto the gallery walls.
In addition to the history and venues, the education center also contains symbolism about women’s service. To construct the stairwells leading to the terrace, the original wall was breached. “The breaching of the wall symbolized then—and still today—breaking through the barriers that have held women back,” according to Marilla J. Cushman, director of public relations and development for the memorial.
Meeting planners should keep in mind:
Author: Kathleen Murphy