Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
Eleanor Roosevelt often said, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” as she made appearances on behalf of her ailing husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the 1940s.
“Well, I say that behind every great woman is another great woman,” said retired Lt. Col. Cynthia Patton in response to that quote, “and a long history of trailblazing women.”
Patton, founder and president of Patton Leadership Consulting in Leavenworth, served as the guest speaker at the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth Women’s History Month luncheon March 12 at the Frontier Conference Center.
“Women, strong women, have always played a part in history. Behind the scenes, they created life,” Patton said. “Generation after generation, they raised every person on earth providing nutrition and nurture, teaching values and traditions and molding the way that the men and the women of our times succeeded.”
During her remarks, Patton highlighted women who made major strides in their respective fields including Susan B. Anthony, women’s rights activist; Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean; Gladys West, an African-American mathematician whose development of the satellite geodesy led to the development of global positioning systems; Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female supreme court justice; and Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut.
“For all of you men in the audience, get behind the women in your life — your daughters and wives and mothers,” Patton said. “Help them be brave and bold and do whatever the world will allow them to do and even if it doesn’t allow them to do it.
“For all you women and girls in the audience, go out there and take that chance,” she said. “Be the first female command sergeant major of a unit. Be the first female garrison commander of a post. Fly a new aircraft. Make it through Ranger School. Discover a new vaccine. Become the president of the United States. You never know what part your life will play in the future or how you’ll be remembered, but go out there and make history.”
Following Patton’s remarks, Col. Caroline Smith, 15th Military Police Brigade commander, presented her with a certificate of appreciation.
“I think it’s easy to forget all the people before us and what they had to go through and how they had to strive in order to get us where we are today,” Smith said. “When I say us, I mean us as a collective group, not just the females in the group.
“Our rights are integrated everyday with how women are treated on a regular basis and how much is given to us,” she said. “Thank you so much for reminding us and bringing forth all the goodness that comes from all we’ve had and the struggles and how we can continue to push forward and continue to do the things that are right regardless of gender.”
The next CAC and Fort Leavenworth observance luncheon, which will honor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. May 14 at the FCC.