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A tribute to fallen heros
May 31, 2010 8:17 AM   Subscribe

“Let us acknowledge the measure of their sacrifice by honoring them as brave women, and by honoring them as women who served without thought of glory which we accord to heroes of battle. The service pilot faces the risk of death without the emotional inspiration of combat. Men who battle in the sky have the grim, triumphant knowledge that their bombs and bullets are destroying the enemy, and their courage is sustained by the emotions of conflict. These women have given their lives in the performance of arduous and exacting duties without being able to see and feel the final results of their work under the quickening influence of aerial action. They have demonstrated a courage which is sustained not by the fevers of combat, but the steady heartbeat of faith—a faith in the rightness of our cause, and a faith in the importance of their work to the men who do go into combat. Let us pay tribute to these women by honoring their memory . . . Let us treasure their memory as women whose sacrifice has brought honor not only to their country, but also to their organization. We shall not forget the accomplishments of our women fliers and their contributions to the fulfillment of our mission. And we shall always keep and remember the brave heritage of the women who gave their lives. It is the heritage of faith in victory and faith in the ultimate freedom of humanity.”

Women Airforce Service Pilots flew missions in WWII, yet were never official military, their existence was kept secret for decades and they received no military benefits. Recently they were awarded a Congressional Gold Medal. Some more information is available at the museum.
posted by caddis (9 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
"It is the heritage of faith in victory and faith in the ultimate freedom of humanity.”

Like black American soldiers in WWII, these women were fighting for freedoms they themselves were denied by their own country.

In contrast, the communist enemies of freedom in the Red Army employed women in all forms of combat.

And we shall always keep and remember the brave heritage of the women who gave their lives.

Yes. All of them.
posted by three blind mice at 8:33 AM on May 31, 2010


The fallen WASP heroes part 1 and part 2 from another good resource.
posted by caddis at 8:54 AM on May 31, 2010


Personally, if I had to serve my country in a way that brought risk upon me, I'd rather doing it without "the fevers of combat", I'm pretty sure. It's kind of weird hearing that described as the good bit that makes it all worthwhile.

But yes, I'm glad to be reminded of them today.
posted by Casuistry at 9:20 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know if this would be of interest to anyone, but I posted something on my blog about the man who would have been my grandfather in law, had he not been killed in WWII, and the impact his death continues to have all these years later.

it's here
posted by jeffisme at 9:22 AM on May 31, 2010


I knew one of these pilots. She had been working as a secretary for decades at the place I started work in the late 1970s. She'd spent most of WW2 flying an old biplane out of an airport on the Louisiana gulf coast --- towing target gliders, while farmboys being rushed through ground training tried to shoot the targets down, in the early war years using the best 1930s technology available.

Talk about brave.

No pension, no retirement money, no recognition as a veteran, no bitterness, no complaints.

She deserved a lot better than just _my_ awe and adulation.
posted by hank at 9:56 AM on May 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


Dick Gordon interviewed Deanie Parish (one of the original WASPs) on The Story several months ago - awesome. She told of one of her fellow fliers being killed on duty. The woman's parents had to pay to have her remains returned to her home state, the funeral, etc. No military acknowledgment, nothing.

Great post, thanks for this.
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:49 AM on May 31, 2010


In researching an airplane to buy a few days ago, I came across a page about the WASPs.

Apparently, when they died, they were sent home at their family's expense. And the Army wouldn't even let them drape the coffin with the flag.

I just about cried.
posted by Netzapper at 10:53 AM on May 31, 2010


Apparently, when they died, they were sent home at their family's expense. And the Army wouldn't even let them drape the coffin with the flag.

That got me weepy.
posted by dabitch at 6:20 AM on June 1, 2010


Apparently, when they died, they were sent home at their family's expense. And the Army wouldn't even let them drape the coffin with the flag.

It just pisses me off.
posted by 0BloodyHell at 4:59 PM on June 12, 2010


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