In an era of universal polemics and
political unrest with no thought of glory, with no fanfare
or public notice 265,000 women volunteered to go where
they were needed, to do what was needed. The era was known as
Vietnam, and these young women, most in their 20s, risked their
lives to care for our country's wounded and dying. Their humanity
and compassion equalled their lifesaving and comforting skills.
Vietnam Veterans were not welcomed
home as the country desperately tried to put the war behind
it. Before founding of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project,
little was known of the heroism of American women. Yet over
265,000 military women served beside their brother soldiers
all of them volunteers. Approximately 11,000 American
military women were stationed in Vietnam during the war. Ninety
percent were nurses. Others served as physicians, physical therapists
and personnel in the medical field, air traffic control, military
intelligence, administration and in many other capacities. An
unknown number of civilian women also served in Vietnam as news
correspondents and workers for the Red Cross, the USO, Special
Services, the American Friends Service Committee, Catholic Relief
Services and other humanitarian organizations.
Many of these women were wounded or killed in the crossfire. The Vietnam Women's Memorial Project has given women veterans a voice. It has helped to tell their story through the mass print and electronic media as well as in schoolrooms and universities and at conferences, seminars and conventions. As more and more Vietnam women read and hear of their sister's service, they come forward with their own experiences. Many of these women had never before shared their personal experiences with others - the pain was too deep.
Now, through their poems, songs and stories, the healing of women veterans has begun. Silent no more, women veterans have a special role in discussions surrounding a call to arms, the role of women in the military and veterans benefits. Their insights into war make their contributions in peacetime as invaluable as their heroism in Vietnam.
A three-day Celebration of Patriotism
and Courage, November 10-12, 1993, in Washington, D.C. highlighted
the dedication of the Vietnam Women's Memorial on November 11,
1993 near the Wall of names and the statue of the three serviceman
at the site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Thousands of Vietnam
veterans, their families and friends joined the nation in honoring
these brave and compassionate women.
Click here for a complete chronology of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation.