Garden at Biloxi VA pays tribute to women veterans - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Garden at Biloxi VA pays tribute to women veterans

The garden was the dream of Mary Jane Nelson, a World War II Navy veteran who served in the WAVES corps. (Photo source: WLOX) The garden was the dream of Mary Jane Nelson, a World War II Navy veteran who served in the WAVES corps. (Photo source: WLOX)
The goal of the garden is to remember women veterans and their dedication and service to the country.(Photo source: WLOX) The goal of the garden is to remember women veterans and their dedication and service to the country.(Photo source: WLOX)
A ribbon-cutting was held for the Women Veterans Memorial Garden, witnessed by about 100 people. (Photo source: WLOX) A ribbon-cutting was held for the Women Veterans Memorial Garden, witnessed by about 100 people. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

There's a new garden planted on the grounds of the Biloxi VA that has special meaning. It represents a tribute to all the women who have served their country in the military. 

It was the dream of Mary Jane Nelson to see this garden spring up.  She's a veteran herself, having served during World War II. She remembers when she joined, and what her father told her.

"He said, 'I guess I have another one to put through college.' And I said, 'Oh no, I am going into the Navy.' And my mother said, 'All those men!' I said, 'That isn't why I'm going,'" Nelson recalled. 

She and thousands of others went to serve.  Now it's the VA's turn. M. Christopher Saslo is the interim director.

"For us, it's an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions that they've made and the fact that they are as important as any of our other veterans in the military," Saslo said. 

"It's empowering for women," said Aletta Butler with the VFW Post 5699 Auxillary. "Personally, I think that this is the best thing that could happen to the VA. It shows the women that they can come here and get the care that they need."

With more and more women joining the military these days, the times are changing. And so are the times for the recognition of what they accomplish and offer our country.

Dr. Betty Dillon is a veteran herself and works at the VA.

"A lot of the women that went in earlier don't feel that appreciation. And they just feel like they've been ignored and overlooked all these many years. And their time has come that we don't ignore them anymore," Dillon said.  

The highlighted flower in the garden is the Forget-Me-Not. And that's exactly what this garden will do for decades to come. Simply remember. 

By the way, Mary Jane Nelson will celebrate her 94th birthday this weekend.

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