Beverly/Morgan Park resident Commander Elisabeth Pennix, US Navy Reserve, and Master Sgt. Ginny Narsete, US Air Force (Retired) will march together as Grand Marshals of the Beverly/Morgan Park Memorial Day Parade as organizers of Operation HerStory, Illinois’ first all-female veterans flight to Washington D.C. The flight, held last October, included 93 women who served during WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era.
Narsete, a Vietnam veteran and former Chief of Staff for the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, is the organization’s founder and Pennix is vice chair.
The flight was a milestone, dedicated to highlighting the vital contributions of women in the military. The veterans visited the national war memorials built in their honor, including the Women’s Memorial and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
More than 80 donors helped to fund the flight, the largest grant awarded by the Pritzker Military Foundation, according to Narsete. Twenty partners helped Operation HerStory reach out to recruit women veterans for this first-of-its-kind flight.
In a Villager article about the historic flight, Pennix said Operation HerStory partnered with Honor Flight Chicago to “give these women veterans the same experience that regular Honor Flight passengers get, but with highlights in recognition of their service as women during a time when they were not afforded equal visibility, pay, participation, rights, accolades, and treatment for their critical work.”
As Grand Marshals, Narsete and Pennix are encouraging women who are veterans, reservists, and on active duty to march with them on Memorial Day, Mon., May 30.
“[Operation HerStory is] passionate about highlighting women in service and post service, because they tend to serve their time and disappear back into the woodwork of society. In fact, many senior women veterans too often don’t recognize the significance of their military service or view themselves to be as deserving as their male counterparts,” Pennix said.
Pennix and Narsete met while working for the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs; Pennix was the department’s General Counsel at the time.
The Beverly/Morgan Park Memorial Day Parade is the oldest community Memorial Day parade in Chicago. It features military vehicles, a color guard, scout troops, historical figures, floats, vehicles, flags, music, the Jesse White Tumblers and more.
Area families, businesses, institutions, groups and others are invited to march to honor the men and women who have given their lives in the U.S. armed services to protect our freedom as Americans.
Applications for BAPA’s Beverly/Morgan Park Memorial Day Parade are available online at BAPA.org/ridgerun.
The parade follows BAPA’s Ridge Run, about 10:30 a.m., stepping off from 110th and Longwood Drive and traveling north to Ridge Park.