You Betcha I'm a Proud Army Mom

Ramblings of an Army mom and probably some rants about the world at large. These are my ramblings and rants and no one else's. Just so you know...

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Location: California, United States

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Women In The Military

I was surfing the net the other day, looking for articles about women in combat as I hadn't heard much about it since all the hoopala last May in the House over the Amendment presented barring women from combat. The Amendment requiring the Pentagon to get Congressional approval before placing women in additional jobs on combat zones was dropped.
As I have a soldier daughter now, this issue has become so much more important to me. And I'm of the age (cough, cough) where I remember being told I couldn't be a horse trainer because I was a girl. (I was told the stallions would be all over me at "that time of month"! FYI, this is a myth...) I was of the time stuck between Donna Reed and Betty Friedan. It was a very confusing time for me because I played with dolls and went shooting with my Dad and brother, rode horses, climbed mountains, sewed my own clothes, baked alot and wore my Dad's Army shirts from WWII, as well as miniskirts (and yes, sometimes at the same time...my mother was not pleased). Plus, I was raised by a woman ( the same not pleased mother) who had quit college and joined the Navy in 1942. She didn't tell the family until she was in and no one could do anything about it. (Oh! I'd have love to have been there for that phone call...her mother was known as old ironsides by the rest of us.) My Mom met and dated alot of pilots, and after the war, took flying lessons. She then moved to New York City, got a job in a well known florist shop, spent a lot of time in Harlem, going to the Clubs and didn't get married until she was 29. Which was almost unheard of back then especially in my hometown area. (My Grandmother was not pleased.) So, I have always had this schizziness around womens roles. And guilt, can't forget the guilt! I swear with the best of them and I wear Converse Allstars most of the time but I can get dressed up and do that whole proper thing. I raised my daughter to believe she had no limitations just because she was female. I raised her to be an independent thinker and to not be shackled with other people's notions because I didn't want her to have to go throuigh all those internal conversations that I had in my head. "A lady wouldn't do that!" "Nothing can hold you back!" "You should be married by now!" "Dammit! I'm going to be a horse trainer!" and on and on.
So of course, this has "confusion" has spilled over into this "women in combat" issue. My equal opportunity pragmatist says "Go for it! Why shouldn't women be in combat? They already are as in this war the frontlines are everywhere. What's the problem?" My Donna Reed comes out with the "women can't do all the things that men can." I usually tell "her" to go polish her pearls.
But now I have a daughter who may be deployed. This reality has certainly shaken up the "Pragmatist" and "Donna"! Oh, the conversations they have inside my head. My, my, my! And then there's the Mommy - I think she's the most stricken. I know she's the most emotional! So this got me surfing and I found this extraordinary website by Capt Barb, "American Women in Uniform..."
"Welcome to the home of the skeptical, irascible, doubting, iconoclastic Captain Critical, aka Captain Barb, whose pontificating will try to amuse, bemuse, irritate and generally annoy anyone bold enough to stay long enough to read the ramblings of a self appointed distaff critic who will continue to remind you that women are veterans too! Did you know that there are almost two million women veterans? From the American Revolution to Panama, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq , women have served in some way in every conflict. Not that they were legal in the early days. History tells us that thirty three thousand women served in World War One and almost 500,000 took part in World War Two. During the Korean era 120,000 women were in uniform and seven thousand were deployed in theater during Viet Nam. During Desert Storm seven per cent of the total U.S. forces deployed were women - over forty thousand of them. On these pages you will find the history and accomplishments of those women who have served this country - voluntarily - since it's beginning."
There is alot of good info about the women who have served this country in time of war and in peace times. ("Donna" was appalled! The "Pragmatist" wanted to go to the closest Recruiting Office and sign up!) Capt. Barb also has a new section called "She Chose to Serve", with individual stories sent in by friends and families about some special women they have known. I really recommend reading all of it. I like Capt. Barb! She's my kinda woman!

So here's to you, Mom, for chosing to serve your country in time of war. I wish I had told you more often how proud that made me.
And here's to you, D~, for also chosing to serve your country in time of war. I will continually tell you how proud you make me!

( Me? I trained horses. Even stallions...) ;o)