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June 17, 2024

King Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Honor WWII Nurses with Congressional Gold Medal

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC), has joined bipartisan legislation to honor World War II nurses with a Congressional Gold Medal. The WWII Nurses Congressional Gold Medal Act will award the more than 59,000 Army Nurses and 14,000 Navy Nurses who bravely served in World War II with a Congressional Gold Medal.

Nurses like Helen Siragusa, who passed away in Winthrop last year at 100 years old, were the true embodiment of “Dirigo” as they served and led the nation in the midst of one of the deadliest wars. This award recognizes their selfless service on behalf of the nation.

“It is an honor to join my colleagues in seeking to recognize the selfless service of the thousands of Army and Navy nurses who put their lives on the line to save others,” said Senator King. “The recognition of a Congressional Gold Medal acknowledges all of their sacrifices and contributions in support of our great American ideals: democracy and freedom. I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to permanently weave the historic deeds of our frontline workers into the fabric of our collective conscience.”

The WWII Nurses Congressional Gold Medal Act is supported by the American Red Cross, Friends of the National World War II Memorial, the National Military Women’s War Memorial, and Naples-Monte Cassino VFW (Italy).

“The Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation representing the 3 Million women that have defended the nation over the past 247 years is pleased to support the WWII Nurses Congressional Gold Medal Act to honor the incredible service of more than 70,000 Army and Navy nurses who volunteered to serve during World War Two,” said Phyllis J. Wilson, MPA, BSN, RN, President of the Military Women’s War Memorial (Washington, D.C.).

"The American Red Cross applauds the reintroduction WWII Nurses Congressional Gold Medal Act in honor of the brave women who served as members of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. Despite historical inequities based on gender and race, women shared their expertise as nurses and physicians to foster wellbeing and mitigate suffering and death. I am deeply grateful for the resilience, legacy and inspiration of these extraordinary nurses and their colleagues,” said Linda MacIntyre, Chief Nurse, American Red Cross.

In addition to King, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Steve Daines (R-MT) Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten (I-AZ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), John Barrasso (R-WY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Patty Murray (D-WA).

Representing one of the states with the highest rates of veterans per capita, Senator King is a staunch advocate for America’s servicemembers and veterans. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, he previously pressed Pentagon officials on the need to prioritize resources for servicemembers transitioning from active duty to veteran status. Senator King has also worked to ensure American veterans receive their earned benefits and that the VA is properly implementing various programs such as the PACT Actthe State Veterans Homes Domiciliary Care Flexibility Act, and the John Scott Hannon Act. This past fall, he introduced a bipartisan bill to protect the educational benefits of military dependents if the servicemember who transferred them those education benefits is dishonorably discharged from the military due to domestic violence or sexual assault against their spouse or dependent. Additionally, Senator King has introduced the bipartisan TAP Promotion Act and bipartisan legislation to improve transportation to health care appointments for rural veterans.

Senator King also participates in the Veterans History Project is an effort by the Library of Congress to collect, preserve and distribute the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The interviews and primary documents from the project are then used by researchers, historians, students, and filmmakers across the country.

A one pager on the legislation is available here.  


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