4th of July is one of my most favorite holidays. I love the patriotic music, I love the hot summer weather, I love everyone in cutoffs, I love the fireworks, and I love the pride associated with this great day in history. It’s so easy, though, to get sidetracked by all the barbecues and parties from the real thing we should be recognizing today: our country’s freedom. The Fourth of July signifies our independence and the people who gave us that freedom, so my post today is in recognition and support of the people who STILL give us that freedom and keep our country safe and proud, our amazing, brave, talented, courageous, and beloved US military!
As a granddaughter of US servicemen, one being a WWII veteran, daughter of a US Navy man, and the girlfriend of a Navy SEAL, you can say that the US military is very, very close to my heart! But let’s not lose focus of this blog column: I write about fashion, so let’s tie it all in together by talking about the wonderful ladies in our armed services and their history—and ways we can help our deployed sisters right now with gifts of beauty and fashion!
Women in Military History
Revolutionary War Women
A lot of people think that women in the military is something relatively new, or that it first began with war nursing, but you’re wrong! The first military pension given to a woman was actually during the Revolutionary War! Margaret Corbin fought with her husband at Fort Washington and in 1779 Congress voted her a pension of one-half a soldier’s pay and one suit of clothing. How cool must she have been??!! Pioneer women were no stranger to defending their homes, and these ladies were tough.
Such heroes! These women were amazing and had lives I cannot imagine. Salute to you, Revolutionary Girlies!
Deborah Samson is quite possibly the absolute coolest chick in military history. During the Revolutionary War, Deborah wanted to help and disguised herself as a man, joining the Army. Using the name Robert Shurtleff, she became a well-respected soldier working her way up to assistant to the general. She removed her own bullet from a leg wound, to keep her secret safe and keep fighting, but developed a fever and had to be treated. The doctor treating her discovered the truth, returned her to her family’s home to heal, and she was honorably discharged from the military. After this, Paul Revere himself wrote a letter to Congress requesting a military pension be given to Deborah for “services rendered during the war”. After this, she received a military pension of $4 a month until her death at 66 years old. Can you imagine receiving a recommendation from Paul Revere??!! Deborah, you were AMAZING.
Deborah Sampson drawing and statue that stands in Massachusetts. Salute to you, amazing woman!
The first enlisted woman was Loretta Walsh, in 1917, enlisted as a Yeoman in the Navy. Twin sisters Genevieve and Lucille Baker followed suit, and enlisted in the Coast Guard later that same year. In 1918, the Marines received their first female servicewoman. Sgt Esther Blake was enlisted “the first minute of the first hour of the first day” the regular Air Force was formed, on July 8, 1948. She became the first WAF- Women in the Air Force.
In 1942, WAC was formed, standing for Women Army Corps, and sister group WAAC (Women in Auxiliary Corps) formed amidst the chaos of WWII. About 150,000 women served in the WAAC and WAC during WWII. There was a shortage of men to fight this devastating war, and these women stepped up. Many people don’t know that these women landed in Normandy, just like the men did, just days after the initial invasion. General Douglas MacArthur called the WACs “my best soldiers”, adding that they worked harder, complained less, and were better disciplined than his male soldiers. During this period, other branches followed the trend and formed female branches of military personnel- Navy WAVES, Coast Guard SPARS, and Air Force WAFs.
Don’t these look like the most fun, awesome, coolest chicks ever??? I want to be their friend! Gonna go hug my Grandma after making this collage! Salute to you, trailblazing enlisted women!
Today, women in the US military make up about 20% of our total armed forces population, filling every job, branch, location, and skill. We have fought in every war our country has seen, and currently many of our women are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are no different than the women that came before them, bravely and selflessly serving our country. What an amazing group of ladies!
My goodness these women give me goosebumps! How wonderful they are to serve their country and all of us?! Salute to you, US servicewomen!
Say Thank You!
Women in the military have done so much for this country (as have our amazing, lovely, fearless, wonderful men!) and so I called around to see how best to help support these amazing ladies that I am so thankful for, in a girly fashionista way (it’s what I know best!) and I was told that soldier care packages designed for women are amazing treats to these ladies. This makes total sense to me! In the middle of Afghanistan or in my bedroom in Phoenix, I am going to want my beauty products! So here’s how we can say thank you to our brave sisters far from home keeping us safe:
Donate a ready-made “female” package:
This site has packages all set to be shipped to a lucky servicewoman! Click on “Care Packages” and see their options such as “Female Entertainment” package or “Female Hygiene” package. Awesome company!!
Find a female soldier to donate to:
Ask friends and family first—one you know by name is always amazing!
Contact local USO office- 760-866-1100
Contact donation sites: www.defenselink.mil
Create a “girly” care package including the following sought after items:
Girl mags- Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire, etc.
Oil free sunscreen
Anything you think you might want if you were in a desert feeling as un-girly and un-pretty as possible!
No, we don’t want a war fought with a focus on makeup, but these girls get nights off, they have social events on their bases, and they have time alone in their rooms where a face mask and copy of Cosmo would make them feel a little less far from home, and a little less far from their femininity. It’s small to us, but I bet to a girl in a barracks room in Iraq, it would make all the difference in the world to get a package like that!
The gift of beauty, what a lovely way to say thank you!
And just so no one is confused, I think our men need JUST as much support and encouragement and gifts of love—but I write a fashion column so the ladies come first here! A huge thank you to ALL our servicemen and women. There is no way to express our gratitude enough for what you do, and here is to hoping that what we can send your way makes your day at least a little brighter, and a little closer to your home. This country and this girl love you! Happy Fourth of July USA!