Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Give Thanks to All Our Veterans; Remember the Often Forgotten Women Who Serve

The fact that today is Veterans Day has hovered in the background as I worked. I knew I wanted to post something in remembrance but the words weren't there yet.

I found myself thinking about Mary, a colleague of mine years ago, and the other nurses I know who served in the Vietnam War. After the war, they seemed to gravitate to assignments in the Emergency Department or the Intensive Care Units -- places where their competency and composure, well tested under fire, kept the daily threat of chaos at bay. These fine nurses served us well as soldiers and continued serving us as civilians.

As I reflected on them this afternoon, two things happened.

First Patty Hankins, a professional photographer and AAUW member in DC, posted a link to her memorial photos. They included her lovely photo of the Vietnam Women's Memorial sculpted by Glenna Goodacre honoring all the women who served in the Vietnam War.

Then, I saw this brief slide show:

President-elect Barack Obama and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth shared a moment of silence at 11 a.m. this morning after laying a wreath at the Soldiers Memorial in Chicago.

These images captured what I wanted to say.

Today women stand side-by-side with their male colleagues in many military roles unavailable to women in Vietnam. We fought for the right for women in the military to take their place alongside men, just as we fought for the vote and continue fighting for pay equity, comparable worth, Choice, and childcare.

Today we honor and remember all our veterans -- men and women who serve us at great personal sacrifice. May we keep you in our minds and hearts everyday and care for you as you care for us.

Many thanks to Patty Hankins for permission to use her photo in this post. I encourage you to visit her site to see more of her photos available for sale.

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