Today as I wrap up my visit to Washington, DC for the 2010 Milblog Conference, I made a sojourn to the Vietnam Memorial where the only other memorial dedicated to women who served in the military stands. The statue reflects the sacrifices of women and the ultimate sacrifice made by seven Army nurses and one Air Force nurse. Again, I was moved to tears.
I first saw the statue in the early 1990s when my family traveled to DC for a sightseeing visit. Besides the Holocaust Museum, it was the only memorial that truly moved me. I wasn’t sure why, I just felt I could personally relate to my sisters-in-arms.
Today I get it.
As I sit here writing in the shade of the eight planted trees honoring the fallen, I’m struck by the fact that women veterans are still in the shadows. It’s time we step out of that shadow, reclaim the core sense of self that lead us to join in the first place, and demand to be recognized.
If we don’t, no one else will.