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Story of the WAVES National Stained Glass Window


    Following the 1984 WAVES National Convention in Washington, DC, a group of 40 members toured England, joining their British counterparts, Women in the Royal Navy (WRN), in a joint venture entitled 'Hands Across the Sea.' During their tour, the ladies visited the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, in Guilford, England, where they saw the WRNs stained glass window that was unveiled July 8, 1979, by Lord Mountbatten, to mark the WRNs diamond Jubilee.

    On their return home, one of our ladies, June Boyse, suggested the WAVES National also install a stained glass window honoring the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). Thus, the idea of our project for the Stained Glass Windows was born.

    In 1984, WAVES National president Anne Anderson wrote the Commandant, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC, if WAVES National ' . . . might possibly donate a memorial window of some kind for the lovely chapel at the Navy Yard' In reply to Anne, Captain James Conte, District Chaplain, readily agreed and noted the anchor would be most appropriate, as it is the symbol of faith.

    This began WAVES National's project of installing stained glass windows at various locations throughout the country, honoring, originally, Navy women and WAVES National. The stained glass window has evolved, as WAVES National has, to honor all women of the sea services.

    The first window was installed June 8, 1986, in the chapel at the Washington, DC, Navy Yard. It is a 39 inch circle, with the WAVES National emblem in the center. The glass surrounding the emblem is broken into sections to symbolize water breaking in waves. The word WAVES appears, centered, over the emblem and Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, 31 July 1942, is centered under the emblem.

    Individual units and members donated towards the stained glass window. Donations exceeded the cost of the window and WN decided to install additional windows, provided suitable locations were found. A stained glass shadow box was installed at the Naval Training Center, North Chapel, San Diego, CA, on July 17, 1988. The shadow box was subsequently moved to the Veterans Memorial Center, San Diego. On June 14, 1992, two stained glass windows were installed at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, TX, in Our Lady of Guadeloupe Catholic Chapel and Our Lady of Loretto Shrine.

    The next window was installed at Lehman College (formerly Hunter College), in the Music Building, Bronx, NY, September 18, 1997. Hunter College was one of the first 'boot camps' for Navy and Coast Guard women.

    The following window was originally scheduled to be installed in Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia, in Building 1, a historical building. However, since the original design and structure of the building would have been altered to accommodate the window, an alternate location was found in the Charette Health Care Center Dining Facility. A stained glass shadow box was installed and dedicated July 19, 2003.

    RADM Sally Brice-O'Hara, USCG, and guest speaker for the dedication at Naval Regional Medical Center, recommended that a stained glass window be installed at the USCG Recruit Training Command, Cape May, NJ. WAVES National membership approved this plan and a window was installed in the Ida Lewis Auditorium, October 15, 2004.

    The eighth stained glass window will be installed April 29, 2010, at the Great Lakes Recruit Training Command Chapel, Great Lakes, IL.


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