Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sacrifice and survival: Continuing to honor our female veterans

Patriotic holidays aren't the only time we should think about the sacrifices service women have made.

Here is an excellent website: American Women in Uniform, Veterans too!

This site is full of stories about amazing women doing amazing things from the Revolutionary War down to the present. It also has a section to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

This is one of those sites where it's possible to spend hours browsing -- even if you're not a history fan or war buff.

It's also a great resource for American history and women and gender studies students.

I spent some time this past weekend going through pictures of fallen vets honored by The Detroit News.

As I paged through 200 photos and biographies it struck me how many of them -- so young -- could be my children.

And, how many my same age could be my brothers and sisters.

Holly's sacrifice

This is Pfc. Holly Jeanne McGeogh of Taylor, Mich. She would be 25 now.

Spc. McGeogh was killed on January 31, 2004 near Kirkuk, Iraq.

According to, "Pfc. Holly J. McGeogh aimed for the Army from early in high school. She spent four years as a cadet with the JROTC before joining up after she graduated in 2002.

“She was totally dedicated to going into the Army — that was her destiny,” said her high school guidance counselor, William Teller. Teller said the uniform she wore to school once a week was festooned with medals.

The 19-year-old light-truck mechanic from Taylor, Mich., was killed Jan. 31 when her vehicle struck a homemade explosive device near the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk. She was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

“Holly is another reminder that our freedom truly is not free. Holly and her friends paid the ultimate price for all of us, without complaint or regret,” the family said in a statement."

Anysia's survival

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to interview Oakland University graduate Anysia Gray, 27.

She tells her story of her tour in Iraq from the perspective of a young, African American woman whose experience of difference and loss changed her forever.

"Nobody can really understand what you went through ... they have to be there with you," Anysia said.

"You never fully reacclimate. Your life changes ... some nights I can't sleep at all."

I urge you read Anysia's story in it's entirety here:

Veteran shares Iraqi stories -- The Oakland Post 23 March 2010

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