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Sunday, February 28, 2016

March is National Women’s History month.
If it wasn't leap year today would be March 1st so I figure we're good to post this today.

What follows is a small list of women I admire. Not because they were first at something but because they have moral courage and an ability to get beyond danger and do what is right because it needs to be done.  
The women who settled North America. All the little mama’s who had the courage to get on a tiny, leaky boat and go to an unknown new world. They didn’t have a smart phone to check the weather, complain on fb the boat didn’t dock on time or call an Uber driver to take them to the nearest inn.   
Agent 555, an extraordinary woman, was a member of the Culper Spy ring that George Washington says helped win the revolutionary war.  To this day her identity is unknown.
Dr. Mary Walker, the only woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for her efforts to save lives during the civil war. Congress eventually revoked her medal saying she was a civilian and asked for its return.  Mary, quite the outspoken character, refused and wore the medal proudly every day until she died.
17-year-old Frenchwoman Emilienne Moreau assisted the Allies and set up a first-aid post in her home.
Russian peasant Maria Bochkareva, twice wounded in battle, led the all-women combat unit the "Women's Battalion of Death" on the eastern front.
American journalist Madeleine Doty, traveled to Germany during the war to report the truth.
Actress Hedy Lamarr developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes which used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat jamming by Axis powers. The principles are now incorporated in wi-fi and Bluetooth technology.
Julia Childs was a world-renowned chef. She was also a SPY. At the onset of World War II, she went to work for a newly formed government intelligence agency the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). She went on assignments around the world and played a key role in the communication of top-secret documents between U.S. government officials and their intelligence officers.
Nancy Augusta Wake. She ran away from her home in Australia at age 16. Worked as a nurse, traveled to New York and London. Married a wealthy Frenchman and became the single biggest thorn in the German’s side during WWll. The Gestapo called her the White Mouse because she eluded capture. She was their most wanted person and they put out a five million-franc reward for her capture. In a WWll movie if you see a woman depicted doing extraordinary things it is more than likely something Nancy actually did. She died in 2011 and I truly wish I had met her. There is simply too much to say about this amazing woman. I suggest you research her.  
The women of London who, during the war, sent their children to the country side in hopes they’d be safe then went about enduring the almost daily bombings of the city. Can you imagine?   
Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs. About 200 women flew planes during World War II but weren't considered "real" military pilots. No flags were draped over their coffins when they died on duty. And when their service ended, they had to pay their own bus fare home.
An incredible group of Soviet women, most under 20 years of age, flew bombing missions during World War II. Many flying more than a thousand missions. The Germans feared them and gave them the name The Night Witches.
Rosie the Riveter, a name for American women who worked in factories during World War II, many in plants that produced munitions and war supplies.  Rosie’s Canadian sister was just as determined and dedicated. 
Minnie Spotted-Wolf, the first Native American woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.
In 1945, Olivia Hooker became the first African-American female admitted into the United States Coast Guard. Dr. Hooker later earned a doctorate in psychology and had a long and distinguished career as a professor in New York, retiring at the age of eighty- seven. She is amazing.
Rose Valland a French art historian, and member of the French Resistance, a captain in the French military, and one of the most decorated women in French history. Rose is one of the greatest and yet unknown heroines of World War II. For four years, Rose risked her life daily to locate and return works of art stolen by the Nazis during their occupation of France. Her remarkable story remained unknown to the broad public until it was revealed in the book and movie The Monuments Men.  I’ve stood in galleries admiring the art she saved and never knew about her until the book was released. It makes me sad the world didn’t know to thank her.
Marjorie Carr is a personal heroine of mine. She led the campaign to stop the cross Florida barge canal. Environmentalists now agree that had it been completed it would have destroyed the ecology of the Everglades and surrounding area.
The nurses of the Vietnam War.
Carol A. Mutter is a retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant general. She is the first woman in the history of the United States Armed Forces to be appointed to a three-star grade.
Lt. Col. Sarah Deal Burrow, United States Marine Corps, became the first female Marine selected for Naval aviation training, and subsequently the Marine Corps’ first female aviator.
Major Jennifer Grieves, made history as the first female pilot of Marine One, the presidential helicopter. Hu rah.
Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz the first female superintendent at any of the U.S. service academies. Prior to her appointment she spent 12 years at sea in command of two cutters. She and her crews executed missions such as drug interdiction, search and rescue, and waterways security.
Sergeant Kimberly Munley a civilian Department of Defense police officer at Ft Hood who stopping the firing rampage of an Army Major. Munley a petite mother of two put her life at risk.  She took the man down. But not before being shot three times.
Around the world, the wives, mothers and sisters of the military and those who protect and serve, who daily face down the fear of what could happen to their loved ones.  
Thank you ladies and the many, many more who paved the way for women today.
To find out about more extraordinary women The National Women’s History Museum has a marvelous web page.


Elise Warner said...

Fascinating. The two of us are interested in women who spied for their beliefs. Strong women who have served. I've chosen others who will appear right here Wednesday March 2.

Rita said...

Elise I can't wait to discover what women you chose for your post. There are so many and we know so little about them. I could have gone on and on (and nearly did) I frequently learn new things about my favorites.

Anne Marie Becker said...

Rita, I think this is my new favorite inspirational blog post. :D I love reading the snippets about all of these women, and now I want to know more! (Especially about Nancy Augusta Wake...that sounds like a movie script waiting to be written!!).

Anne Marie Becker said...

And holy moly - just looked Ms. Wake up and looks like she passed away just a few days short of her 100th birthday? Amazing.

Rita said...

Anne when I said there are parts of her story in many movies I meant it. The Longest Day is the only one I can recall now. There is another that depicts the time she was wounded and captured and how the resistance freed her before her identity was discovered. A biographer has some stunning stories about her activities during the 'cold' war. Like I said I would love to have met her.
BTW, there is an American, Virginia Hall, who had a wooden leg, that worked for the French underground because she couldn't get into the OSS.

Marcelle Dubé said...

What a fabulous post, Rita! Thank you for the inspiration.

Rita said...

Thanks Marcelle

Sandy Parks said...

After that amazing list, I'd worry that there were no women left for the rest of us to write about, except there are so many fabulous women who have done remarkable things through the ages. Love looking at women in history. Great idea for a week's blog.

Rita said...

You are right Sandy there are many. Many we are yet to learn about.

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