women airforce service pilots
Petition to U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives
Grant Military Burial Honors to Women WWII Pilots
During World War II, a brave group of women joined the war effort by enlisting in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). These 1,074 women pilots -- including my grandmother, Elaine Danforth Harmon -- worked stateside ferrying planes, towing targets for gunnery training, and serving as instruments instructors for male pilots. Thirty-eight of these pilots died in service to their country. After decades of lobbying, the WASP finally earned veteran status in 1977 under public law 95-202. And in 2009, President Obama signed a bill awarding the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal. But Arlington National Cemetery and other military cemeteries are managed by the Department of the Army -- and the Army says that, despite their service, these brave women don’t qualify for military burial honors. The WASP answered their country’s call at a time of dire need. The service and hard work of my grandmother and other WASP should afford them the right to be buried alongside other veterans. I and my sisters Erin and Whitney started this petition to secure inurnment of the ashes of our grandmother, Elaine Danforth Harmon, at Arlington National Cemetery. She was incredibly proud of her service as a WASP, and she loved her country. It was her wish to be inurned at Arlington alongside her sister WASP and other veterans who proudly served this country. Sign our petition, and urge the Secretary of the Army to recognize the WASP as eligible for inurnment in the Arlington columbarium. Arlington National Cemetery states, "Service to country is the common thread that binds all who are remembered and honored at Arlington." Our grandmother, and the other WASP, certainly embodied that ideal. Please sign this petition to show your support for Elaine Harmon and for all of the WASP and the other groups included under law 95-202, who deserve burial honors in Arlington Cemetery.