This New Veterans Memorial Honors Brave Women Throughout America's History
A new memorial honoring women who served in wars throughout America's history will be unveiled at Florida's Destin-Fort Walton Beach — just in time for Veterans Day.
"Throughout our Country's history, women have served proudly in every military conflict," Carolyn Ketchel, the Okaloosa County commissioner, told T+L. "While as a military community we are proud of all veterans, this memorial is unique in the nation, in that is seeks to specifically recognize women military heroes and their invaluable contributions, with life-size statues and stories of their significant contributions."
The Women Veterans Memorial will open to the public on Nov. 11 and will feature eight statues of women who served the United States from the Revolutionary War through the war in Afghanistan. The statues will sit along a walking trail in the 17.5-acre Veterans' Park on Okaloosa Island.
When visitors first arrive at the memorial, they will be greeted by a dedication plaza, featuring a path encircling a U.S. flag, a POW-MIA flag, a Florida flag, and county flags.
Visitors will then see the statue of Margaret Corbin, who served in the Revolutionary War. She was born in 1751 and went with her farmer husband when he joined the Continental Army. But when their position at Fort Washington in upper Manhattan was attacked in 1776, everyone was needed to man the cannon and muskets — and Corbin's aim and accuracy quickly drew attention. She was wounded in the encounter and was rewarded a lifelong pension in recognition of her service in 1779 by Congress.
From there, visitors will come across seven other life-size bronze statues of brave women, including Cathay Williams, who was born in 1844 in Missouri to an enslaved mother and a free father and became the only documented African American woman who served as a soldier in the U.S. Army during the Civil War. And Naseema, who was born in Afghanistan and came to the U.S. as a teenager for an education before going on to serve as an Aircrew Linguist and then in the National Security Agency.
After visiting the memorial, travelers can explore other aspects of the Florida Panhandle, taking advantage of calm Gulf waters, white-sand beaches, and stunning resorts. Travelers who visit the Destin area can go fishing, boating, stand-up paddleboarding, and more.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.