|Women in Military Service for America Memorial (Source)|
Without my grandmothers I would not know where I fit in the grand scheme of things. Without my mother I probably wouldn't have survived to care where I fit. All three ladies were critical in my upbringing. (Any mistakes, errors, or other idiosyncrasies attributable to me can be blamed on me and me alone. Once I was turned loose I didn't always heed the lessons the matriarchs imparted to me. Boys will be boys? More like "stupid is as stupid does.")
Now I have a lovely woman, The Missus Herself, to keep me on the straight and narrow, two lovely daughters, a lovely daughter-in-law, and three adorable granddaughters. Women are key elements in my life. Without them, my life wouldn't have much point to it. (Nor would it have been nearly as much fun, but I digress...)
My oldest daughter, The Nuke, had a post on the Book o' Face the other day regarding the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington in Virginia. (Article here.) Now I've walked by this memorial while visiting Arlington. The last time I was there I wanted a closer look but as the sun was setting and the rest of the tribe indicated a desire to get food, I had to take a pass. Next time.
But I don't know if there will be a "next time" as apparently Federal funding for this memorial is in jeopardy. The previous link will give you the full skinny on that. As for me, the money quote in that article (that is, the line that prompted the post you are reading now) was:
When most Americans hear the term Veteran they envision a man in uniform or an older gentleman sporting a patriotic cap. Women Veterans are often forgotten or an afterthought.I have written about women in the military in these spaces before (here, here, and here) and have strong feelings upon that subject. One thing I don't want to see is the ladies being drafted into service. Bear in mind though, I don't want to see MEN being drafted either. If we have to force folks to fight then it's probably not a good fight. (I'll get back to that in a later post. Yes, I have more thoughts on this that I'd like to share, POCIR.)
Now women have fought (and died) for this country since day one. Well before day one actually. The settlers on the frontier (think late 17th, early 18th centuries) were out there with their menfolk trying to start a new life on the edges of civilization. Oft times the native inhabitants weren't overly enamored of those efforts and would make their objections known.
Settlers (men, women, and children) died on the spot or were dragged off to be tortured and killed later (for the entertainment of the native inhabitants) or made slaves. In some instances the captured settlers were actually adopted into the native tribes. It happened. But my point was that the indigenous personnel didn't much care about the settlers' gender or age. They were treated equally badly. Again, my point being is that the fair sex shared the burden back in those days out on the frontier. And they're still sharing that burden today.
Numerous examples exist throughout our history of women masquerading as men in order to join the army and fight. Then, as now, some men considered the ladies unfit to serve. Idiots all, in my book, YMMV. (The men who consider the ladies unfit that is.)
Just as there are men who are physically or mentally unfit to serve, there are also women. But as for those who do serve? I've known a few.
Much like men, some were horrible at their jobs, some were superlative, most were (as one might expect) average. For the most part they pulled their weight.
Yeah, yeah, how is a 100 pound "girl" going to pull an unconscious 200 pound "boy" out of (1) a knocked out tank, (2) a burning space in the bowels of a ship, (3) back into a fighting hole, or any number of other situations where someone has to be dragged/carried/rolled to safety. Well sweetheart, how is a 120 pound guy going to drag that big fella to safety? Same problem, regardless of gender. In order to serve, one doesn't necessarily have to be this guy...
My point in all this is that women have served and are still serving. I know quite a few who are serving (two daughters and not a few friends) so it's important, I think, for the ladies to have a memorial of their own, for all the wars we've fought in. We men have memorials everywhere, the ladies, not so much. Check out the WIMSA Memorial's website, we shouldn't let this magnificent memorial to our female veterans close down.
We male vets need to stand tall with our female vets, unless you just want to "lift things up and put them down." Pester your Congress Critter about this. Here, I'll help you make that first step, Contacting the Congress.
I think it's important, what say you?