The Nurses Memorial is a ten-foot tall statue that depicts a woman in a nurse’s uniform. Frances Rich, a well-known artist and actress, sculpted the Tennessee marble figure in 1937. She drew technical illustrations during World War II and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the WAVES ("Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service"). Her sculpture was unveiled in 1938. It stands on the crest of a slope against a lush backdrop of evergreen trees. The figure watches over Section 21 of the cemetery, which is commonly called the nurse’s section. This area is the final resting place of many nurses who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces.
It is commonly known as the “Spirit of Nursing” monument. The government initially erected the sculpture to commemorate the sacrifices made by U.S. Army and Navy nurses during the First World War.
In 1970, Captain Delores Cornelius was Deputy Director of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She requested that a new plaque be installed over the original dedication inscription of “Army and Navy Nurses.” The new bronze plaque measures 12 inches by 18 inches. It states that the original statue was erected in 1938, rededicated in 1971 and commemorates the devotion of nurses in the U.S. Army, Navy and the Air Force. The aerial warfare group was part of the U.S. Army and not an autonomous branch in 1938.