I am a woman and I’m a veteran. I joined the military BEFORE 9/11 & I stayed after we went to war. I’ve been deployed 6 times. I drove away from a chow hall and 10 minutes later it was hit by a rocket. My unit lost me in Afghanistan and placed me in missing status for 31 days. Mentally I feel like there’s nothing I can’t endure. After surviving war and waking up to hearing rockets, gunfire and feeling the earth shake from bombs dropping…I’m not afraid of much. My story isn’t that unique because there are so many women just like me with stories just like mine and some are worse.
Yesterday was Veteran’s Day and I dread it each year. I don’t like telling people about my service affiliation because I usually hate their reactions. People act so shocked when I say I’m a veteran, even at Veterans Affairs offices and clinics. People always say I don’t look a Veteran. They assume I’m too young, too put together or too smart. I always look at them bewildered because there’s no particular mold for what WE are supposed to look or act like. Women veterans are taking care of you at hospitals, teaching your kids at schools, running businesses, dancing in music videos, hosting parties, modeling, acting in some of your favorite shows, writing some of your favorite songs, becoming social media sensations and so much more. None of us look-alike but we are a part of the same sisterhood because nobody understands what life in uniform is like but us. Its sad enough that the military is truly a man’s world and they simply accommodate women. We don’t need to go back to life outside of uniform and feel stigmatized. Don’t act ignorant when you meet us. Don’t downplay our military service because we’re pretty, petite, fashionable, have perfect makeup or are “ladylike”. Women veterans are weapons marksman, we can clear buildings and ensure safety, we can launch rockets, we drive tanks and Humvees, we can take weapons apart in record time and put them back together perfectly, some of us are martial arts experts and can take you down in one hit.
We’re women and we’re veterans. We don’t look-alike, we usually don’t hangout together in packs and we’re often the hardest working women you’ve ever worked alongside of. We’re disciplined, we’re honest and we’re fiercely independent so please…..
Respect our service.