On Memorial Day Remember Women Who Made the Final Sacrifice

The practice of honoring those who have fallen in battle dates back to ancient Greeks and Romans. This Memorial Day enjoy your holiday, but also take a moment to remember women who made the final sacrifice as well as all the men who’ve died in military service for our country.

image of a pair of combat boots, a helmet, and dog tags on a metal foot locker--remember women who made the final sacrifice

Continuing with this blog’s tradition of reporting on women of history, I remember women who made the final sacrifice while serving in one of the United States military services. I include links where lists of names or histories of individuals are available.

The American Revolutionary War

During the American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775-September 3, 1783) women often accompanied their husbands. They foraged food, cooked meals, mended uniforms, and tended the sick. We know women served on the front lines, too. They swabbed cannons with water and carried water for the soldiers to drink. Women also acted as spies. Stories about Margaret Corbin, and Deborah Sampson are available on this blog.

Were some women who posed as men in the military killed during their service? Probably, but records are incomplete.

The American Civil War

According to battlefields.org, an accurate count of women who served in the Civil War (April 12, 1861-April 9, 1865) is impossible. The women who served often disguised themselves as men. Some of them died as men and their gender only revealed during burial. 

Sarah Rosetta Wakeman enlisted as Private Lyons Wakeman. She served nearly two years before she succumbed to an illness. She remains buried under her male nom de plume. Her true gender remained a secret until in 1976 when her letters home were discovered.

Spanish American War

Twenty-two service women died while in service during the Spanish American War (April 21, 1898-December 10, 1898). According to this list, most of them died from Typhoid Fever, one from Malaria, and one of an undiagnosed illness.

World War One 

Image of rows of wooden crosses with a red poppy in the center of each cross--remember women who made the final sacrifice in WWI

During WWI (July 28, 1914–November 11, 1918) women took on new roles in the workforce and in the armed services all over the world. Thousands of women served in American military services. The Army and Navy Nurse Corps included 22,804 American women. This blog posted stories about two veterans of the Great War, Loretta Perfectus Walsh and Opha May Johnson.

More than 200 Army nurses died in service. Thirty-six Navy nurses died. 

Names of a few of these women can be found on this site

On The Internet Archive you can access as complete a record of American soldiers (male and female) who died in Europe during WWI, Soldiers Of The Great War, Volume 1-3, by Doyle, A. C. (Alfred Cyril), 1893-; Haulsee, W. M. (William Mitchell), 1889-; Howe, F. G. (Frank George), 1890-; Soldiers Record Publishing Association. Volume 1 has links to the second and third volumes.

World War Two

A story about some amazing WWII nurses appeared on this blog.

When her plane went down on her 196th rescue mission, U.S. Army Nurse, Aleda E. Lutz of Freeland Michigan, became the first U.S. military woman to die in a combat zone during World War II.

Sadly, More than 400 military women lost their lives during World War II (Sept.1, 1931-Sept. 2, 1945). Some records say more than 500 died.

You can search casualty lists available on The National Archives’ Online Public Access catalog. Click on Military Personnel under the heading Genealogy / Personal History. 

Korean War

There were some 120,000 women in the United States who were on active duty during the Korean War (June 25, 1950 –July 27, 1953). Most of them were nurses. For more information visit koreanwar-educator.

Viet Nam War

Image of the Viet Nam Memorial Wall showing reflections in the wall of people viewing it.

There are eight women service members who died during the Viet Nam War (November 1, 1955 –April 30, 1975) whose names are on the Viet Nam Memorial Wall. Visit the virtual wall to see the list and biographical information.

The War On Terror

From 2001 to 2020, 173 female service members have died in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria according to congressional record. These women’s names can be searched for in The National Archives. Below are links to information about a few of those women.

Gulf War (January 17, 1991–February 28, 1991)

During the Gulf War, more commonly known as Desert Shield/Desert Storm, fifteen U.S. women died while serving our country.

Afghanistan War (October 7, 2001-Present)

1st Lt. Ashley White, 24, was killed in action in Afghanistan on Oct. 22, 2011. She was part of a Cultural Support Team (CST), a team to help make connections with local Afghan citizens.

IRAQ WAR (Mar. 20, 2003-Dec. 15, 2011)

U.S. Army Specialist Lori Piestewa, 23, was killed in action in Iraq on March 23, 2003. She was the first Native American woman in history to die in combat while serving in the U.S. military. 

Army Corporal Jessica Ellis, 24, was killed in action in Iraq on May 11, 2008. She was serving her second tour as a medic in Iraq.

Thank You

Two small words that hold a full heart of gratitude and respect while we take a moment to remember women who made the final sacrifice to their country. If you know of a woman who died while serving in one of the United States military services, please add her name in the comments below so readers may include her in their remembrances. And if you are not from the U.S., take a moment of your day to remember the women who’ve served and died for your country.

First Lines Friday Salute

 This month it’s a First Lines Friday Salute in science fiction and fantasy novels. In these stories, the heroines battle to save the day. And this post is intended to allow you to find fun fiction to read.

Image of the U.S. Flag superimposed over the image of soldiers marching toward the camera--a first lines friday salute to veterans and military SF& F novels

But in the real world, Wednesday, November 11, 2020 is Veterans Day. A day to salute, to honor, our veterans. The real men and women—mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons—who fought in World War I and all wars—made real-life sacrifices. Salute to you—one and all.

First Lines in Military SF&F

If you enjoy strong female characters AND a science fiction or fantasy story about military folk, take a gander. You’re sure to find one or two titles to your liking. (Note: these posts never have any affiliate links. They are for your convenience and pleasure.)

“Where do you think you’re going, little green man?”

The Dark of Light: Epic Interstellar Adventure

(Starhawke Rising Book 1) by Audrey Sharpe 

The flight attendant stepped up to her seat—4E—which had never been her favorite on a 767-300. 

Drone: an NTSB / military technothriller (Miranda Chase Book 1)

 by M. L. Buchman  Book 1 of 4

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” Yulda grumbled. 

Pain of Betrayal (Wallkeeper trilogy Book 2) 

by Caren Hahn   

Tortured metal screeched as the ship shook under the pounding of another broadside. 

No Honor in Death (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 1) 

by Eric Thomson 

At last, the iron sky cracked, pouring out a torrent of snow.

The Killing Light (The Sacred Throne Book 3) 

by Myke Cole

The burned-out wreckage of the alien spaceship drifted in a halo of its own debris.

Rules of Redemption (The Firebird Chronicles Book 1)

by T.A. White

The Front-Line reverberated not just from the impact, but the sound. 

Grains of Sand (The Front-Line Book 1) 

by Varian Morn  

Sumi-ness immediately recognized the sound of the older model android as it entered the lobby to the Presidential office.

The Rising (Star Saga Book 2) 

by Ken McConnell   

Emiko arrived on campus at the PAC Academy knowing she was different than the other students.

New Blood: Chains of Command Book 1 

by Zen DiPietro  

On a luxury skiff named Lucia, slowly making its way to the station, Awfa Terracydes, fifty-five citizens of the planet Arisani were dancing and drinking to a talented Meluvian band.

Angel of the Alliance (Lady Hellgate Book 4)

by Greg Dragon  

One week. Seven days spent praying enemy reinforcements didn’t arrive.

Risen from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 6) 

by Sam Schall and Amanda S. Green 

First Lines Friday Salute

Did find a book you want to read? If you haven’t see the previous First Lines Friday posts, check them out. Plenty of first lines to choose from.

I hope you enjoyed this First Lines Friday Salute to military science fiction and fantasy stories. I try to find a variety of stories within the topic. Finding the stories that feature female leads is easier than it has been in the past, but I’d could use your help. Comment below or email me with titles and authors whose first lines stood out to you. Bonus points if the protagonist is a female. In the meantime, try to be patient with the world and yourself. Stay safe. Mask up, stay home when you can, stay 6 feet apart always, and wash your hand.

Fascination Friday: A Virtual Memorial Tour

It’s Friday Fascinations and Veteran’s Day. So the links I’ve posted are a virtual memorial tour. A small tribute to the Courage, Honor, Patriotism, and Sacrifice of our men and women of who have served our country.

The Great War

The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial is in Kansas City, MO. It is the only American museum dedicated solely to preserving objects from The Great War which lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918 (does that date sound familiar?). Visitors enter the museum by crossing a glass bridge suspended over a field of 9000 red poppies. Each poppy represents a combatant fatality. The museum’s displays, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits tell the comprehensive story of the war through the eyewitness testimony of people who experienced the war. There are letters, diaries, videos, and newspaper reports. Some of these will bring a tear to your eye. They did mine. It’s an impressive collection and far more material than you can possibly cover in a day. The museum also houses a 20,000 square foot research area that is open to the public.virtual memorial tour, Kansas City WWI museum, lynettemburrows.com

World War II

Depending upon which source you go to, somewhere between 70 – 100 million military personnel were mobilized during the second World War II. This conflict was fought from 1939 to 1945. (Isn’t conflict a nice, clean, distant word to use when talking about a war that had the distinction of the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare and the deadliest in human history with 50-70 million fatalities.) Go here for Digital history’s guided reading list about WWII. And you’ll find 10 things you may not know about World War II.

The Korean War

The Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953) belonged to my father’s generation. Korea had been ruled by Japan until the end of World War II when the country became part of the spoils of war. It was divided at the 38th Parallel. American Troops occupied the southern half of the peninsula and Soviet troops occupied the northern part. That set up was a formula for war. For more information about this war go to History.com. For one man who would do it again if he had to go here.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was my generations’ war. It was the first time war was shown on the television screen. The consequences were enormous. I hope that American’s will never be so naive about war nor so disrespectful of her soldiers ever again. Please go here for more information. And if you are ever in Washington DC visit the wall, one of the most visually stunning memorials I’ve ever seen.

POWs and MIAs

only woman awarded Congressional Medal of Honor, virtual memorial tour, lynettemburrows.com

This tribute must include our prisoners of war (POWs) and our missing in action (MIAs). For biographies and information about POWs go to American Ex-POWs. A site specifically about women prisoners of war is here. And please, in your virtual memorial tour, be sure to visit Never Forgotten.

A Tribute to Heroes

This has been an emotional tour for me. My husband calls me a sap, a marshmallow. I can’t help it. My heart breaks for all of the lost, the wounded (physical and emotional), and the friends and families of all those men and women.

But my heart also busts with pride because Americans choose to fight, to serve because they believe in the ideals of this country and they hold our flag proudly. I say thank you for your service every time I meet or see a person in military uniform. Today I get the great honor of saying to all those who have served or are currently in service, to the ones I haven’t met and to their families: THANK YOU for your service to our great country. And now I close with one of my all-time favorite music videos honoring and celebrating veterans: “Here’s to the Heroes: a Military Tribute.”