KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Several female veterans in East Tennessee were honored with Quilts of Valor in a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 21.
The ceremony was held at Crown College in Powell and honored 30 female veterans across all military branches. The event was organized by the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation, North Knoxville Quilts of Valor Chapter, East Tennessee Women Veterans Foundation, and Cavett Station DAR Chapter.
Leslie Phillips received her Quilt of Valor Saturday nearly 50 years after serving in the U.S. Air Force.
“This is one of the best days of my life,” Phillips said. “Last year I got to go on the honor flight to Washington D.C., an all-women flight, and that was probably the best day, this is right up there with it, days I’ll never forget.”
Phillips said female veterans being honored isn’t common.
“If you have a decal on your car or license plate that says you’re a veteran, everybody assumes it’s your husband that’s a veteran, well it’s not. There’s a lot of women veterans out there that did an awesome job serving their country just like the men do,” she said.
Carla Miller served with the U.S. Army National Guard for more than 20 years and said it’s a common assumption female veterans face.
“Most of the time if you’re out with your husband or another male, people naturally assume the male was the service member instead of the female. You still see that a lot, it’s getting a little bit better,” Miller said.
Lauren Meier echoed Phillips and Miller’s experience. Meier completed her service with the U.S. Navy in 2004. She said the ceremony brought her together with other women veterans.
“It’s been really nice because I feel like, even my husband when I’m with him, most people think he’s a veteran and not me, and he’s not a veteran at all. We get a lot of that as women and so it’s really nice to have an event like this for us, for the women,” she said.
Phillips hopes recognition for women veterans will continue to grow.
“You can’t count women out that’s for sure,” she said.
Each quilt was handmade by members of the North Knoxville chapter of Quilts of Valor.