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Women-only honor flight pays respect to 135 female veterans

Posted: 2:13 PM, Sep 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-24 19:13:54Z

Female war veterans received a special honor at the U.S. Capitol Monday.

For Mary Jo Yager, the somber sound of “Taps” is an emotional reminder of the deadly sacrifice made by so many of her fellow veterans, including those she knew.

“When it plays, you feel like you're there all over again at the funeral,” says Jo Yager.

Jo Yager was among a group of 135 veterans who made the journey to Arlington National Cemetery Monday. The group come from all over, but they share on thing in common: they are all women who volunteered to serve.

The Nebraska Female Veterans Flight—which took off from Omaha, Nebraska--included women who served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, to the current global war on terrorism. They served in a variety of roles, from nurses to counselors to intelligence analysts.

“In the military you build a lot of friendships and here you can build some more, because there's people you never served next to but they're a sister in arms,” says Jo Yager.

Another veteran in attendance, 80-year-old Judy Rosenkotter, helped trained medics in Desert Storm. She remembers feeling overlooked when she returned home from serving.

Rosenkotter said upon returning from Saudi Arabia, she would wear her military jacket, only to be asked if it belonged to her son or husband.

While a growing number of women are serving in the military, women have always made up a significantly smaller percentage than men.

For Rosenkotter, it's a sense of pride being among other female veterans honored for their service on this free trip to see military memorials in the nation's capitol.

“I've always had a feeling that women veterans are not truly recognized as frequently and as often as they should be,” Rosenkotter says. “And I feel like this is a really wonderful thing to do, and I wanted to be a part of it.”