the history of our country there have been women who served this
Nation. Most notably in recent decades, when their contributions were
more visible. But the service of women has only recently
begun to be recognized for the value it has. Countless women have lost
their lives in wars and conflicts while attempting to support our
soldiers, transport troops, and save lives.
is time that their honor, courage, and humanity, is recognized and that
this nation begins to help them realize their value. It is time that we
said "thank you ladies....and Welcome Home".
I wonder how many people really know
about the women prisoners of war, in WWII? Some were civilian families
of soldiers, some were Nuns, and some were military women. All of them
suffered torture and starvation, and most of them survived through
their own wit, strength of character, and tenacity.
They confounded the Japanese every day.
The Japanese soldiers and officers could not believe that these "mere"
women could have the strength and heart that these women had. In the
end, these women beat their captors, because by the time they were
forced to let them go, they had no choice but to respect these women.
Our own country did not recognize their sacrifice until many
many years later. And even then, they were not awarded the
same status as their male counterparts.
Women trained as pilots in WWII and flew
bombers and transport plans from factories to Air Bases so that men
could be freed to be useful elsewhere. There were dangers, and several
of these women died. If not for them, many bombers would not
have been available when needed.
During the Korean "conflict", in the
years of 1949 through 1953, women served as nurses and support
personnel by the thousands. A new concept called "MASH" units had
become widely used and they were full of female personnel.
There are a number of incidents
in which women risked their own lives and
safety in order to save the lives of wounded soldiers. They
literally threw their own bodies on top of the wounded, to save them
from further harm whenever the fighting came too close, often
dying or being wounded themselves in the bargain. But they were never
honored in the same way a man would have been. They call Korea the
"Forgotten War" because our troops were virtually ignored upon their
return home. It was as though nothing had happened. But it
did, and it happened to them.
During the years of the Vietnam war,
women showed strength, courage and honor beyond even their own belief.
There were women who rode the "huey's" with the men to make
wounded pick-ups in the field; women who risked their lives protecting
wounded soldiers in the triage stations and field hospitals; women in
Cities and field offices "in-country"; women who had to kill or be
killed. It was a time that 2 generations will never
forget. Nor should they, in some ways. No one had the homecoming that
was afforded our men and women in WWII. In fact, they were mostly worse
than unwelcome, and they have lived with the fallout ever since. Like
their male counterparts, military women from this era have been
suffering, when in fact they should have been able to be proud of their
service to this country.
There are literally thousands of stories
about the valor of our women in the military. Sadly, they are not as
widely read as they should be. I hope that we can provide links to some
of these stories of heroism, and also, links to things that may help or
be of interest to all of us.