What comes to mind when you hear the word “veteran”?
After a random survey, many people visualized old men talking about the big one, WWII. They see stubbly faced men with eyes that have seen more than a person should see, and memories of deeds that were done that will be locked in their minds, never to be revealed.
They see Vietnam vets as the forgotten warriors, and Korean vets as seen through all the years of the TV show “Mash”. Mostly, though, the general consensus is that a vet is a man, whether survivors of the Battle of the Bulge or from any of the mid-east conflicts that are still taking lives of Americans as these words are being written.
Women who have served in the U.S. military are often referred to as “invisible veterans” because their service contributions until the 1970’s went largely unrecognized by politicians, the media, academia and the general public.
However, women have formally been a part of the U.S. Armed Forces since the inception of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901. Informally, women have served since the inception of our nation’s military.
In fact, during the American Revolution, women served on the battlefield alongside their men, mainly as nurses, water bearers, cooks, laundresses, and saboteurs. Despite Army regulations that only men could enlist, women who wanted to join in the fighting circumvented the rules by masquerading as young men. Several hundred women are estimated to have donned such disguises during the Civil war.
While female spies had become common during the Civil War, by far the most significant contributions made by women were in the fields of health care and medicine. Despite the remarkable efforts of these women, military leadership was still not ready to accept them as an integral part of the military medical service. In fact, after the war ended in 1865, the Army returned to using enlisted men for patient care and the female nurses were sent home.
In all, records indicate that 1,500 hundred women served in the Spanish-American war, 10,000 plus in WWI, 400,000 plus in WWII, 120,000 in Korea, 7,000 in the Vietnam era, 41,000 in the Persian Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom has had 200,000 plus women soldiers and sailor and marines and airmen (air women??). Of the 779,500 or so women who participated during wartime periods, 575 were killed in action, which means 778,925 women went home as living, breathing veterans.
Hardly invisible. And these numbers do not take into consideration all the women who have worn the uniform during non-war times. Sadly, there are not too many years that such a category exists in our 239 year history as a nation. An educated estimate of total women who earned the right to be called a veteran is currently about 1.8 million.
Presently, women have become an integral part of the military, from simple soldiers to commanders and pilots and more. The invisible have become highly visible and serve alongside their brothers in arms with honor and courage and should never, ever be taken for granted. So, at this time of the year when veterans are being honored from coast to coast, from the smallest of towns to our great cities, remember that women are willing to pay the price of your freedom, and should be thanked and appreciated all 365 days of the year.
Calumet Park and its affiliates have put together a financial program of complimentary goods and services, and substantial discounts, to all veterans that can produce an honorable discharge, whether the need is immediate or set up as a prearrangement. In fact, for a complete cemetery and funeral package, a veteran can save over $5,500 from what a non-vet would pay for the exact same arrangements.
This program is only offered through Calumet Park Cemetery and is worth a veteran’s coming in for a look-see on how the owners of Calumet Park Cemetery have put their money where their mouth is. Call 219-769-8803 for details, or stop in for a no-obligation estimate on what your investment might be to have such decisions behind you. And remember, Calumet Park never charges interest on pre-need programs.
To all veterans, men and women alike, you have the undying gratitude of your friends here at Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and Rendina Funeral Home.