JACKSON, La. (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs gave special recognition to women Veterans Friday as they unveiled a new statue in Jackson.

Thirty-thousand women veterans call Louisiana home and now the Jackson Veterans Home will have a statue to show them every day their service is appreciated.

As officials pulled back the curtain on the new statue, three women veterans, who are residents, watched. There once was a time they were not allowed to serve in the military and now their state is honoring them.

“With this history, it’s clear these brave women paved the way for many generations to come to serve their country,” said Retired Col. Joey Strickland, the Louisiana Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

One veteran at the Jackson home served in Japan in the 50s as part of the Air Force. She said it is a nice feeling to see the statue because they’re not always seen outside the usual holidays. She also said she thinks about her service a lot and it’s how she found her husband.

“For 4 1/2 years I was in the Air Force and I met him overseas. This is what I got,” said the veteran.

The Department of Veterans Affairs reports women are the fastest-growing population in the military.

“If you need inspiration, courage, or motivation, listen to the story of the women veterans and you will undoubtedly find it,” said Larry Williams, Veterans Outreach Program Director.

The Department of Veterans Affairs expects more female veterans to continue to grow in population in the coming years to be around 16% in the next 20 years.