SACO – It is hard to imagine that during the 18th century two women may have helped change the course of the Revolutionary War. But historical lore tells us otherwise.

Hannah Watts Weston bravely carried heavy loads of lead shot and powder through the woods from Jonesboro to Machias during the war. This story is a favorite among Mainers and as the tale goes, when Hannah Weston realized that her husband and others defending Machias against the British were running low on ammunition, she and her sister-in-law brought the needed supplies in the nick of time — preventing defeat.

Three centuries later, it’s also hard to imagine that she would have much in common with Sgt. Annette Bachman, an engineer specialist and a member of the Maine Army National Guard’s 240th Engineer Group, who served in the war on terror in Afghanistan.

But the two brave women are both Maine veterans who will be featured on a plaque honoring the 10,000 female veterans from our state. This will be the first memorial in our state honoring the Maine women veterans for their service in every major conflict since we won freedom from British rule. It will also be the first time our state compiles a single list of all the women veterans in Maine.

During the 124th Legislature, lawmakers passed a resolve calling for a bronze plaque honoring the women to be placed in the State House Hall of Flags among existing plaques honoring veterans of World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

The plaque design depicts Maine women who served in different capacities in our military over four centuries. These women’s compelling stories show a different side of war and demonstrate the evolving role of women in the military and society as a whole.

In addition to Weston and Sgt. Bachman, the plaque will feature two other brave Maine ladies: Emily W. Dana, who was a Union Army nurse during the Civil War, and Patricia A. Chadwick-Erickson, a World War II Army Air Force Service Pilot.

Emily went from Portland to serve tortured POWs at a hospital established on the grounds of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Most of the patients were former prisoners of the infamous Confederate prisons Belle Isle and Libby Prison. She devoted herself to helping them recover from the trauma of torture.

Patricia, of Holton, served as part of the Women Air Force Service Pilots, or WASPs, a group of women who played a crucial role during a frightening time in our country. Thirty-eight WASPs gave their lives in that service. Showing the evolving role of women in the military, Patricia had a more direct and official role in the fight than her predecessors, Hannah and Emily.

The work of these women laid the groundwork for today’s female service members. Sgt. Bachman’s direct role in the conflict was made possible by the hard work, perseverance, and determination of the women who came before her. These women served in our military, not only defending our country but also helping break through the glass ceiling to bring greater equality between men and women.

It is important to honor all of our veterans, and all too often, the women of our armed forces get overlooked. We should not forget anyone who was willing and brave enough to serve our country and I am proud to be a part of this recognition of their sacrifices.

Maine Veterans’ Services is hoping to raise enough money to have the plaque made and ready for dedication prior to Veterans Day in November. Commemorative silver coins will also be gifted to the almost 10,000 Maine women veterans to show Maine’s gratitude for their service.

We are also looking for help in locating women veterans.

Last month, I received a letter the old fashioned way (in the mail) from Edna Gerrish of Gouldsboro, who served in World War II. She wrote to say “thank you” for the effort and asked that her name be added to the list.

The very same week, I got an e-mail from 2nd Lt. Melanie Skidgel of the Maine National Guard, who is serving in Afghanistan. She, too, wanted to be added to the list.

Our state is rich in its history of brave Maine women. Let’s give them their proper due.