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Join RPEC in celebrating state’s first Women Veterans Day

UPDATE (June 13, 2022) — From Tim Welch, former Communications Director for the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 and current member of the Retired Public Employees Council:


Commemorative events planned Sunday, June 12 in Tacoma and Spokane


OLYMPIA (June 10, 2022) — Last year, Dorette Markham and Celeste Suliin Burris of the Retired Public Employees Council’s Chapter 12 (Tacoma) wanted to recognize the contributions, bravery and sacrifices of women veterans. Thanks to a resolution they wrote and championed — and advocacy by RPEC Chapters 12 and 2 (Olympia) — it was adopted by the Washington State Senate and Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed this Sunday, June 12 to be Washington’s very first Women Veterans Day.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS— On Sunday, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs has organized two events to celebrate Women Veterans Day:

TACOMA — Gov. Jay Inslee will host a commemorative event from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday at the Courtyard by Marriott Tacoma Downtown, 1515 Commerce St. Join in this day of recognition and celebration honoring Washington state’s women veterans. The event will feature informative and inspirational speakers, recognition of this year’s trailblazers, resources for women veterans and of course, fun! Attire: Brunch at your best. Please register in advance.

SPOKANE — All women veterans, reservists, National Guard and active duty women from ALL eras are encouraged to attend the first Women Veterans Day in Eastern Washington from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday (program starts at 2 p.m.) at VFW Post 1474, 2902 E. Diamond in Spokane. Light refreshments will be served. Please register in advance.

Women Veterans Day is observed in the United States on June 12, a date chosen to mark the anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, signed by President Truman on June 12, 1948, which enabled women to serve as permanent regular members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. Although the date is not recognized nationally, it is recognized by a number of states, either through legislation or proclamation.

And thanks to the efforts of Markham, Burris and the RPEC, Washington is now among the states to do so.

In the 2022 legislative session, Sens. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton) and T’wina Nobles (D-Tacoma) sponsored and successfully supported the passage of Senate Resolution 8653, which resolves that “the Washington State Senate, in recognition of the courageous service of these women, join the Retired Public Employees Council of Washington in celebrating (Women Veterans Day).”

Gov. Inslee subsequently signed a proclamation to celebrate “June 12, 2022, as WOMEN VETERANS DAY in Washington and do commend this observance to all Washingtonians. I encourage all the citizens in our state to join me in honoring women veterans for their achievements and invaluable contribution not only for our country but to our state.”

The Retired Public Employees Council of Washington (RPEC) was formed in 1971 as an organization to promote the interests of retired state, county, city, and local government employees. RPEC is affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Learn more at

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