Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veteran's Day: Women Veterans

As I thought about Veteran's Day today, the main word that kept coming to mind was sacrifice. Sacrifice of one's all.

I did a little research into women's contributions in WWII, particularly in the OSS, The Office of Strategic Services (predecessor of the CIA). I read The Sisterhood of Spies by Elizabeth P. McIntosh who served in the South Pacific. She interviewed many of the hundreds of women who served in the OSS in different parts of the world.

These women provided vital service from the lack-luster, tedious filing type jobs, and tracking every serial number from German manufacturing plants, to operating underground resistance groups, and providing cover documentation and identifications behind enemy lines. Every women experienced deprivations of war. They were a part of everyday life, the kind of deprivations few of us will ever know, thankfully.

One lady in particular, Virginia Hall, continued to serve behind enemy lines even after she lost a leg while serving in Turkey. She was fitted with a wooden leg and went back to work in France. She became one of the most feared of Allied spies. Although in constant pain, she learned to modify her limp with her prosthesis because she'd be given the nickname of "la dame qui boite," the lady who limps. This was her only identifiable trait as she was a master of disguise and a remarkable actress. She accomplished too many things to list here.

So many women sacrificed to serve. They sacrificed the very things we take for granted. They were well educated women, fluent in at least three languages; many born in wealthy families who could've avoided service if they wanted to.

Thank you to all of the men and women who sacrifice even the basic necessities so that we can live in luxury. Thank you to all who gave the supreme sacrifice, "Greater love hath no man . . ."

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