Thursday, August 11, 2016

(Another) One For The Ladies

Women in Military Service for America Memorial (Source)
I have always been a fan of the ladies. My two grandmothers and my mother were all very big influences on me as a child. From my grandmothers I learned the stories of my ancestors. For what it's worth, both grandmothers were Scots, my paternal grandmother actually having been born in an t-Seann Dùthaich (the old country). Of course, my mother raised me, nurtured me, disciplined me (when needed, which was probably often, I have always been, shall we say, difficult), and made sure I did my homework.

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?


  1. The omnipresent curse of the programmable computer was brought to us by LTJG Grace Murray Hopper.

    1. One man's curse is another man's livelihood.


      I, for one, am a big fan of RADM Hopper. Big fan.

  2. A non military female who made Spits work better.

  3. I think we've got too many memorials. Particularly for a nation with the collective attention span of a gizzard. Adding memorial after memorial after memorial really serves to water down the impact of extraordinary sacrifice, which is what memorials should celebrate. They're really starting to become special snowflake temples, and whether it's intended or not, they serve to balkanize the military and perpetuate the notion that the specialness of particular groups trumps the equality of all humans.

    When I were a sprout in the navy I carried with me the opinion that women shouldn't be in the service, other than as clerks. I remember suggesting that if women want to be in a navy, they should have their own, complete with pink ships. Of course that attitude didn't survive long after first contact with the naval double-xers. I saw too many women who were better than me, and more dedicated, and were superb examples of service and leadership. One in particular who broke my nose at NACCS (sparring) became a great friend and was later lost at sea.

    That service and leadership is what should be memorialized, but you really can't do it by building a marble shack. Particularly when it's just another shack among thousands of other shacks. The memorial I carry is the realization in my heart that that stupid old line from the Declaration really is absolutely true, and the knowledge that I had the honor to serve with non-hyphenated soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines whose deeds are timeless and everlasting and speak more powerfully than chiseled words ever could.

    But that's just me.

    1. The memorial of which I speak already exists, it was opened in the 90s. It's very nice and a fitting tribute to all of the women who have served in uniform since Day One. What is needed is the funding to keep it "open" (by that I would guess they mean "maintained"). So this isn't a new memorial. Do you have any examples of the memorials you feel we have too many of? Just curious.

      The story of the female sailor who broke your nose and was later lost at sea is something you should share. Just a suggestion from one who can never get enough tales of the sea service.

      Again, this memorial already exists, no one is asking for something new. I understand what you mean, but people of good will can agree to disagree. Some memorials are needed and are special, especially those to commemorate those who gave all when their country treated them like second-class citizens, or worse.

      But that's just me.

    2. Well, there are certainly a lot of things being funded that rank lower than this memorial, in my book. Obama-phones leaps to mind. (ok, let's simplify the list-- Everything with Obama in its official or unofficial name). I'm in agreement with you on Women in the Military, but I can be considered biased also, being married to a retiree. Still, I think there's sufficient case to be made that the Women deserve a memorial of their own and since there's one in existence, it should remain in existence.

    3. My thoughts exactly. There is much waste in Federal spending which can be done away with. Hell, there are entire (un-Constitutional) agencies and departments which can (and should) be eliminated. That would free up a bunch of cash. Will it happen? Of course not.

  4. Hm quite agree on the memorial, and much else you say. My wife and I were married while we were both on active duty (YES it was legal--at least then). On the 100-120 pound person bit--the point is that there used to be physical tests to determine whether or not you could go to sea in the Navy---e.g. pull a defined weight up a ladder while being sprayed with water with loud noises and steam all about. If you didn't pass the test you were disqualified. We debased the tests so that more women could pass them (not "fair" don't you know ?). That has and will kill people. I believe similar things have happened with the fire services. That is wrong.

    1. I didn't know they used to test folks for that sort of thing. Lowering the standards is never a good idea, unless the original standard was unrealistic or bad. Being unable to function in the environment you describe should be a disqualifier.

      Completely concur on the need to make sure a person can do the job, regardless of gender.


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