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Friday, November 8, 2013

Countdown to 11.11.13: What is your definition of heroism? How heroic are you?

Poster, public domain, USA
    What is your definition of heroism?
   Are women as heroic as men?
   Are you heroic?
   Who is your hero and what have they done to win this place in your heart and mind?
   These are valid questions each of us should ask ourselves as we prepare to commemorate on Veterans Day those who gave their all for us in war.
   These are men and women, not only in the armed services in all countries, but also in support services.
   In The Great War, we see the growth of the Salvation Army, the YMCA, more than one thousand different volunteer groups who gave of their time and services. The Salvation Army girls made Doughnuts. Yes, many say that the term DOUGHBOY came from the famous fried dough these women made for men to enjoy back of the line!
What did the YMCA do? Both men and women volunteers in that organization operated canteens for soldiers to buy hot chocolate, candy or cigarettes.
   Among the women who joined the Army Nurse Corps, we see women who worked 24 hour shifts as the fighting intensified, women who worked in wards where men dealt with discovering they were amputees or otherwise physically impaired. These women found a way to aid these men who realized that when they went home, they would be challenged by their new physical conditions. Some were paralyzed. Some were visually impaired. Others bore facial wounds. Others had wounds to the mind that we then termed "shell shock" and today we call PTSD.
   Many of these women died in the line of duty. Although not permitted to the front lines, women did suffer from malnutrition, pneumonia, ear infections, influenza and infections. Quite a few are buried in our American Cemeteries in France alongside our soldiers. Do ask the attendants when you visit to give  you the platts so that you can visit and pay homage to them.
USA Public domain, Poster.
And for those who cannot speak for themselves, then or now, I will show you a few pictures of the brave animals taken into service during the war. Note their varied roles.
Canaries who sang to wounded in hospital trains.

French Blue Cross Hospital for sick and wounded horses.

Here, to end on a note of joy, is a picture of Sergeant Stubby. Stubby served throughout the war, even capturing an enemy and holding him by the seat of his pants until relieved of his duty by a human! Stubby won many medals. A true hero for all of us to applaud!
Bull terrier Sergeant Stubby in his dress uniform with decorations!

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