JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. -- Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling observed its final Women's History Month event March 21 at the Bolling Club here, where WUSA 9 anchorwoman Andrea Roane was the keynote speaker.
Col. Monique Minnick gave the opening remarks.
"The equal opportunities to learn are taken for granted by most young women today," she said. "We have made great strides as evidenced by this room full of educated and empowered women. But there is more to do. We are not done. It is up to us sitting in this room, men and women alike, to make sure that future generations are educated and empowered."
Following lunch, Navy Capt. Anthony T. Calandra, JBAB commander, gave the introduction for the guest speaker.
He said he was reminded of this month's theme because of his 7-year-old son, who brought home a book about women and the Civil War, and he explained the connection to the WHM observance at JBAB.
"As members of the military, I'd like to think that whether we're here or whether we're deployed, we all play a small role in bringing education to nearly 2 million women in the country of Afghanistan. Prior to our involvement in 2001, no women, no girls there went to school. They weren't taught to read. I think that's a wonderful tribute to who we are as Americans, that we would step in with our partners and do something about it. So when people ask me why we're there, or why we're still there, that's an easy answer for me. It's a worthwhile cause."
He then followed Minnick's comments, saying that many of the leaders in the room and on JBAB, happen to be women.
"But now I get to point out a special leader," he said. "We are most fortunate today to have one of the National Capital Region's movers and shakers, Andrea Roane."
Roane began by quoting Abigail Adams, wife of founding father and second President of the United States, John Adams.
"'Remember the ladies,'" she quoted from one of Adams' letters to her husband while he was away in Philadelphia serving in the Continental Congress. "And she would probably applaud the Women's History Month theme for 2012, Women's Education-Women's Empowerment. It's honoring pioneering teachers and advocates who help women and other groups gain access to advanced learning, and that's important."
She went on to explain the prevailing logic 236 years ago, that a woman's place was at home taking care of her husband and children, that studying the fields of medicine, science, religion, law, politics, mathematics and other subjects were considered "un-lady-like," as was the notion of co-ed education.
Roane spoke about how the founding fathers actually did value education for women to a point.
"If the women were educated, to a point, they could then pass that knowledge on to their male children, who would be the leaders of the future," she said. "And what these women did with their daughters, was to groom them to follow in their footsteps as good mothers and good caretakers. The notion of women being in the military, being beyond just a good caretaker was unheard-of."
The point that Roane truly wanted to drive home, however, was for women (and men) to educate and empower themselves on health and wellness issues-breast cancer in particular.
She played a dual role in her visit to JBAB as not only guest speaker for the WHM luncheon, but also as an opportunity for her to interview Capt. Candice Adams, a breast cancer survivor from Fort George G. Meade, Md.
"Captain Adams was one of those young women who didn't need to worry about breast cancer, you would think, because she's healthy, with no family history," she said. "But at 29 years old, she rolled over on her side and felt something. At 29, the guidelines for her and mammograms don't exist. With her parents and her fiancee by her side, she survived one of the most virulent forms of breast cancer-triple negative breast cancer. She said, she had control of this disease. She said, every day, you can either wake up and choose to smile, or you can wake up and choose to be sad, but she usually makes the decision to be happy. She didn't waste time, did her research on the disease and moved forward, and now she can look forward to a long, healthy life."
Roane closed her remarks with a quote from Andrew Carnegie.
"'Like our founding fathers said, you educate women, you educate our nation, and you make our men better-behaved.'"