ROCHESTER, Minn. - It was in 1948 when President Truman signed the Women's Armed Services Integration Act allowing women to serve as permanent members of the military. Now more than 70 years later, women are carrying that legacy forward and are celebrating each other in Rochester.
At the VFW, a sisterhood of veterans fills the room, young and old, celebrating each other.
"It's just amazing being in a room full of women who served their country," Ashley Laganiere, an Army National Guard veteran said.
She says nights like these keep her motivated in a world that does not always recognize the service of women.
"Women veterans are often the most under-served population, they are the fastest-growing population of veterans and they under-utilize their VA benefits," Laganiere said.
Still, she has no regrets.
"I think a lot of veterans would say if they have the opportunity they would enlist again and I think every one of us feels that," Laganiere said.
Thursday became a night of comrades in arms sharing memories and a moment. It was the third Women Veterans gala with 160 women all there to celebrate each other.