Updated: Apr 3
To a Female Veteran,
You did well. You were good enough. You were strong enough. You are still impressive.
I know the struggles that you faced every day. Struggles that we still don’t talk about because we don’t share our stories. We are the quiet veterans. We don’t get the hats, the t-shirts, the acknowledgment. I know that it hurts- because we all gave something too.
I see you.
I respect you and your service.
I am you.
Because of you, women have been instrumental in the Armed Forces. We have made a difference. We fired cannons in the Revolutionary War. We were nurses in the Civil War. We acted as spies in WW1. We drove trucks full of medical equipment and dying men in WW2. We worked as air traffic controllers and intelligence officers in the Vietnam War. We flew helicopters and reconnaissance aircraft during Desert Shield/Storm. We are everywhere in Iraq and Afghanistan. We were not always welcomed, but we came away, and we stayed.
Because you did it, I did it. I laughed, I learned, I kept pushing forward. I outlasted, out survived, and outperformed all those who treated me as a side thought. Why? I knew that I was following in the footsteps of those who came before me, and I paved a better path for those coming behind me. I was going to be a part of the solution and not the problem- because of you!
To the ones that struggled with the Physical Fitness Test- you still did it! You were still strong enough, even when everyone doubted you. I know those nagging voices in the back of your head that said that you were weak. Those voices were lying. You still did it. A number on a piece of paper did not define your work ethic. You are strong.
To the ones that struggled with weight- you still did it. You were still strong enough, even when people judged you every time you ate anything. I know that the nagging voice in your head saying that you were not skinny enough to be worth anyone’s respect or attention- you are worth it!
To the ones that dealt with the thousand of jokes at your expense, the ones that were judged before anyone got to know you- you are good enough. I can’t tell you the number of times I was judged, laughed at, disrespected, downgraded because I was me. I know the hurt that you went through; I know the pain of laughing with others at your own expense. But you kept going. You kept smiling and pushing through. And you became better than those who were laughing at you. You lasted the test of time. It was hard, and it was painful. But you did it.
To the ones that have suffered unspeakable trauma, we stand behind you. Do not be ashamed, do not hide in the dark. You have been brave to this point, and we now have your back. You have taught all females, regardless if they served or not- that being strong is sometimes painful. That is a difficult lesson, and you have born it with a smile, grace, and dignity. You have taught all women, young or old, that it is okay for females to tell the story. It is our gift to you- that we stand to support your telling of that story. Regardless if it was war or personal, it affected many or just you; we see you.
I do not know your name. But I stand beside you. Tell your story, and we will hear you.
Every other female veteran