Fort Benning and Columbus leaders celebrate Women's Equality Day - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fort Benning and Columbus leaders celebrate Women's Equality Day

(Source: Emilie Arroyo/WTVM) (Source: Emilie Arroyo/WTVM)
(Source: Emilie Arroyo/WTVM) (Source: Emilie Arroyo/WTVM)
(Source: Emilie Arroyo/WTVM) (Source: Emilie Arroyo/WTVM)
(WTVM) -

From the fight to vote, to the fight for equal pay, women have, and are, making great strides towards equality according to President Barrack Obama, who declared August 26th national Women's Equality Day.

Leaders at Fort Benning and Columbus gathered Friday to celebrate the achievements and rights of women. This comes at a time when Fort Benning and the military has seen giant leaps for women.

Around this time last year, the first women to ever complete the grueling Ranger school were graduating with fellow male classmates. Since then countless doors have opened for women in the military.

"That's the great train of humanity. Are you going to be on it," said Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. 

"We're celebrating this idea of breaking barriers, and we are celebrating the nature of a culture, a nation, that knows how to learn," said Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley.

Tomlinson commended the recent efforts of the military in letting all women serve in all direct-action combat roles and schools, as well as the historic Ranger school graduation last August which included women for the first time ever.

The feat received claims of standard-bending and cheating from some law-makers and military officials, but Fort Benning officials stood by their female graduates.

"Your strong stand on the three remarkable women who fairly completed the rigorous Ranger school," said Tomlinson.

"Continuing to learn, continuing to get better, and having met with young lieutenants in the last couple of months, women who have gone into the infantry and the armor, they are learning and we are learning about that integration even now," said Wesley.

Soldiers who organized Friday's special ceremony say they are happy to see where the Army is headed, and recent pushes for equality make them extra proud to serve.

"Whatever the Army's trying to do now, in integrating women into all the combat roles, I really think it's a tremendous effort, I think it should have been done a long time ago," said SFC John Bleignier.

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