Through Our Eyes: The Women Veterans’ Experience
Through our Eyes takes the portraits and stories of incredible women Veterans for everyone to enjoy.
"I had good times and bad times in the Air Force, but it is part of life. If your attitude is positive, you’re willing to learn, and you can be flexible, you’ll do fine in the military. I would always encourage young women to join the military services. It helped me to grow and mature. It also helped me to realize that I wasn’t stupid and a nobody; I was a somebody."
"The purpose of me telling my story is that I want people to understand me. These life experiences have made who you see here in front of you today. I spent a lot of time by myself. I don’t mind being by myself; I love to travel, and I can do it alone. That’s my salvation. Now, I can’t do that. That’s why I feel loss, loss, and more loss, forever loss—financial, home, and my cats."
"At the time because there were so many people enlisting in the military, it was supposed to be a year before I could go to boot camp and to AS school. I was talking to my dad and saying, “I just don’t want to go to the Navy or boot camp.” I was terrified of going to boot camp. I was a sensitive soul. I was afraid, legitimately afraid."
"During November 1944, I went to basic at Hunter College in New York. Boot camp was a shocker. In November, it was colder than heck. I was from California. They said to bring a warm coat. What I called a warm coat was a nice little powder blue coat which they called a spring coat."
"I had to leave the military because I’d gotten sick. I didn’t want to leave; I wasn’t ready. I didn’t get to serve all the time I wanted to serve. I had to find other ways to serve. Now, I volunteer."
"We were going to Okinawa on D-day with the troops, their first landing. We were there six days. They kept bringing us wounded till we were loaded to the point that patients were in the aisles."
"I relate so much more to Veterans. That’s usually my circle. That connection, if you walk into a room and meet one Veteran, you can talk to them all day long. It doesn’t matter if you are a Marine or Air Force. You have something to talk about, a friend; and you know they will have your back."
"I joined the Army because they didn’t wear black stockings, and the Navy nurses did. Everybody laughed and teased me about the stockings. I liked the pretty white caps, dresses, stockings, and shoes. My cape was navy with a red lining."
"I can remember being on watch in the middle of the night on the way down to Antarctica, and the entire ship went dark; it just shut down. It’s interesting when you’re on a ship with all that noise; and all of a sudden, it goes silent in the dark of night. You think, “Something happened; this is wrong.” It’s creepy!"
"We, the nurses, traveled mostly by ourselves through France on trains from Cherbourg to Marseille, the whole length of France. We were on the move all the time. The Germans liked to bomb the railroads – the same ones that we rode on throughout France."
"I never planned on being a soldier, and I never planned on making it a career. I just fell into it, and I stayed in because I loved the people and the sense of purpose. The Army was and still is my family."
"Something I will never forget is when we had a truck go off the road and a tree went through the cab. I got in the cab with the young sergeant trapped inside and stayed with him as he died. That was one of those helpless moments."
"I’m the kind of person that has the mentality that once I start something, I will finish it. I had some bad things happen, but I still wanted to make the Marine Corps a career. That was my goal."
"I would get well, and I’d think I can have one drink, but you can’t have one. One is too many, and a thousand is never enough."
"In October of 2001, I woke up with massive pain in my head. Something was off. I couldn’t really see good out of my left eye. I went into the doctor; and sure enough, my central vision in my left eye was gone. That was the beginning of it all."
"It’s not clear to me why anyone would want to read my story. There are many folks who lived through much more interesting times than me. Experiences, good or bad are a part of life. We all do our best to cope with the reality of our existence. In the end, each of us have something to contribute to recorded history."