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A Thank You Note to My Veteran Sisters

 

Thank you to my Sisters who heard the call: You risked your life as nurses and disguised yourselves as men during the civil war, you were deployed to Europe during World War 1, and you were enlisted to support the war During World War 2, even though the 350,000 of you did not have permanent status and you only made 2/3 of what enlisted men were making. 

Thank you to those whose influence encouraged President Harry S. Truman to sign the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, which enabled women to serve as permanent and regular members of the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Thank you for those Sisters who broke through barriers and fought the system and showed our country that our contribution as Women and Veterans is just as valuable and important as those of our male counterparts. 

Thank you to those of you who fought to have your spouses treated as equals, with benefits, because existing in a culture that only accepted men as the servicemember and women as non-servicemember spouses should never have been the norm.

Thank you to all my Sisters who served in combat zones but weren’t considered combat Veterans, despite having risked your lives to support the exact same campaigns as those of our brothers in World War 1, World War 2, Korea where 120,000 women served, Vietnam where 11,000 women served, and the over 350,00 of you who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thank you to all of my Sisters who were firsts: changing history, making history, opening the doors of opportunity so that our younger Sisters can follow.

Thank you to all of you that came before us, for your contribution broke through the walls of prejudice, small mindedness, and gender bias because you made it possible for us to be here today. We stand together, side by side because of the work of your hands.

Our Sisters were born of necessity, hearing an honorable call, and choosing to answer it nobly. . .because no one has ever had to motivate us with the threat of a draft despite the fact that we have always had to fight for the same benefits that were freely given to our brothers.

We thank our Sisters as we stand beside them, encouraging them, being part of a very exclusive club. For our Sisters have come as waves towards a beach, throughout history, growing in numbers, in strength, in mighty power. Allowing each generation to stand on the shoulders of those that came before so that more can come after, doing all that we can so that our younger Sisters can have it better than we did.

The hope for so many of us who have witnessed our Sisters making history is that the next generations of Service Women can experience their own breakthroughs as they stand on our shoulders.

Last but not least, we thank our Sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice, paid the ultimate price but did not make it home. The memory of what you did will not be forgotten by those who are still here.

And for our Sisters who did make it home, but found that life was too difficult to deal with and that this world would be better without you. . . . I wish that you had returned to a place where you would’ve felt safe asking for help, that you would’ve been heard, a place that someone could’ve said “thank you for your service” in the hope that maybe you would still be here today. The world has been changed because of your contributions, though the beauty of who you were is no longer here for us to experience it.

Thank you, my Sisters. You are amazing. You are important. You are beautiful. You answered the call. You wore the uniform. You have left your fingerprints on history while being daughters, Sisters, mothers and friends. 

To much is given, much is expected. To she who is given more, is expected more (Luke 12:48). May we continue to make history every day.

We see you, we thank you and we are here for you. Reach out to me if you need help or if another Women Veteran needs support. Thank you.

 

Written in honor of Women’s History Month by:
Rocio V. Palmero, Navy Veteran
Women Veterans On Point, Program Coordinator