This Page Is About Patriotism And Honoring Of The
American Women Past, Present And Future
Who Have And Will Support Our
American Veterans...

The Ones Served And Serving, Have Shown A Strong
Dedication, Great Love And Honor
To Our Country...

~ "The United States Of America" ~

This page was inspired & created in reference to an article I read in Chicken Soup For The Soul...

This Page Was Created on 11-11-99 (Veterans Day)...


~~~~~~"Our Women Heroes"~~~~~~

Scattered Memories

And now the tears come, two and a half decades later.
I ache for all we lost in Vietnam - our buddies,
our relatives, our innocence.

I'm no heroine. I joined the Army Nurse
Corps to go to Europe; that's what
my recruiter promised me.

I was 21 years old when I was ordered to Vietnam.
I stayed 364 days. I cared for the sick, the
wounded and the dying. I did the
best I could. I am only coming
to know that now.

For almost 20 years, I never spoke about that time,
or that place - I buried my memories, my anger
and a large part of "me" deep, so deep, just
wanting to forget; wanting to feel peace.

~~~~~~"Serving Proudly"~~~~~~

I only spoke to Sue because she was there too. Years
later in the Army Reserves, once again in fatigues
and combat boots out on field exercises, we'd
turn to each other, never making the con-
nection of physical circumstances.

We'd tell each other funny war stories, and we'd
laugh. Then one of us would remember, and
share, and then we'd cry. It would be
months or maybe a year before
we'd repeat the scenario.

~~~~~~"The Wall"~~~~~~

In 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) was placed in
our nation's capital. I saw pictures of it and the vets on
television or in magazines, and it brought
out so many emotions in me that
they went way beyond tears.

And I, like many vets, knew it wasn't over. We knew we
had to go there. We didn't know why, we just knew
we had to go. The Wall was calling us home.

~~~~~~"Bottled Up Memories"~~~~~~

It took me five years to answer. Sue and I went together. At first,we
stayed far away in the trees. "Tree - Vets," we're called. Then
a picnic on the grass behind "The Wall", where we
could see the visitors' heads moving along
as their walk took them deep into
the V of the black granite.

Our first frontal maneuver came at night - arm-in-arm, supporting
each other, ready for retreat, we walked the length of those
names, our tears camouflaged by the night.

Even there, even then, we rarely spoke about the war, not even to
each other. And we never wore anything or said anything
that identified us as Vietnam veterans.

~~~~~~ "Angels Of War"~~~~~~

1992 was the 10th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Sue couldn't come, and I did two things I'd never done
before - I went alone and I went in uniform.

I wore my current dress uniform with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel,
and all the insignia, medals and decorations that tell a very
specific story to those who know how to read it.
I could never have anticipated what
happened to me there.

~~~~~~"In Memory"~~~~~~

I wrote Sue that night:I carried you with me when I went to The
Wall. I had the strength to be there, but I didn't feel the
entitlement. I did put on a brave front.

No raggedy remnants of faded fatigues or sun-bleached boonie
hats for me. I stood heads above the crowd - proud
(at long last) in my Class A's.

My chest of ribbons saying loud and clear, "I'm a vet, too.
I was your nurse. Honor me. Reach out to me.
Please, help me to heal."

~~~~~~"Our Gold Star Mothers"~~~~~~

And they came. They were there for you Sue. Oh, I wish
you could have been there! You would have
been so touched; and it was you who
deserved what I received.

God, but it felt so good to cry the tears that for so long
we held, and covered with our laughter,
and let the years bury so deep.

They came, the 40-something vets looking so much older
than their years. Some with the same eyes
that we saw back then, the pain
still very much with them.

They hugged me and held me, and most smiled through tears
as they tried to speak. They want you to know that they
remember you were there for them, and they're
grateful. You saved some of them and cared
for them and for their buddies.
They love you. For you
were their nurse.

~~~~~~"Remember Our Disabled Veterans"~~~~~~

I saw him hesitate at the edge of the crowd, then urged on by a friend the WWI vet came forward. With crippled and deformed hands, he stood as tall as his 86 years allowed and saluted me. I smiled as my eyes filled with tears and returned his salute.

He was mortified that he might cry. I hugged him as his friend took our picture. He spoke volumes in the simple words, "Thank you."

It was a strange deja vu. Remember when the GIs would always take our pictures? They still do. And all those eyes looking at us - how we learned to look right in them and say, "It's okay, you're gonna be just fine."

It's not so hard to see The Wall now, to be near it, to feel its presence, to feel their absence. We're going to be okay. It's time to heal, my friend ... to know that you did everything you could, and more; that it mattered that you touched those lives.

~~~~~~"She Too Was A Hero"~~~~~~

Next year we'll stand together when the Women's Memorial is
dedicated, and we can begin to forgive ourselves for our
imagined slights and shortcomings and our human
frailties. And we can begin the process of
healing ourselves and coming to
peace with our memories.
I love you, my friend.

~~~~~~"Never Forgotten"~~~~~~

Veterans Day 1993, the Vietnam Veterans Women's Memorial was
dedicated in Washington, D.C. Thousands of women vets
attended, and we were overwhelmed. We led the
parade- the nurses, Red Cross workers,
entertainers, women who worked
in supply, administration, to
intelligence and

The streets were lined with people applauding and crying. A vet
sat high up on a tree branch yelling, "Thank! Thank you!"
A man in a flight suit stood at attention for over two
hours, saluting as the women passed by. People
handed us flowers and hugged us. One GI
had a picture of his nurse that was
taken July, 1964. He was
trying to find her.

~~~~~~"Our True Heroes"~~~~~~

The women veterans find each other. We know, at last, that we
are not alone, that we are not paranoid or crazy, but that we
have a lot of work to do in order to heal. We talk to each
other and find comfort as well as pain in our words
and our tears. Now after so many years, that the
process has finally begun and we hold each
other close and say, "Welcome home."

~~~~~~"WELCOME HOME"~~~~~~

By Lt. Col. Janis A. Nark
from A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Copyright 1997 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Hanoch McCarty & Meladee McCarty


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This Page Was Last Updated On 11/01/2000

Since I have made this page 1 year ago,
my son joined the Marines Corps
and has just recently graduated from bootcamp.
His platoon won "Honor Platoon",
which was a "Real Honor" to them.
Especially since their group was told that they contained
all the "Degenerates" and were considered the
"Worst of the Worst" upon receiving.

If You Would Like To View His Webpage
Click Here

October 20, 2000
PLT. 3095 L-Co
MCRD San Diego

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