Honoring Armed Forces' Nurses on Memorial Day by Ginger Manley
In the fall of 2003, while I was awaiting my second total knee replacement a few weeks hence, I visited Washington, D.C, with my husband, John. We wanted to visit the Wall, and as we walked slowly past it and continued on around the Mall, we came upon another bronze monument, set under a canopy of trees. This one featured three figures, two nurses and an injured serviceman to whom they were attending.
John, who had lost an arm while serving at Moody Air Force Base in 1965, was wearing his prosthesis. I was on a walker, barely able to move because of my disabled knee. We were the only people there at that moment and John began to tell me, for the first time in detail, what it had meant to him to be cared for at Moody and later at Lackland by the nurses there. I began to sniffle. My knee was hurting so we moved over to a nearby bench and sat down. A man who we had not previously noticed walked over to us and we involuntarily recoiled, not knowing what he might be selling or worse, fearing that he might be intending to harm us. Instead he put out his hand to John and said, “Thanks for your service.” Then he turned and disappeared. I totally lost it. After I recovered my composure to some degree, I found myself looking to those bronzed nurses just in front of us and saying to them, “Thanks for your service.”
Diane Carlson Evans, RN, conceived the idea of the Vietnam Womens Memorial and saw it brought to completion in 1993. My Vanderbilt nursing classmate, Suzanne Hopkins Blievernicht knew Diane when both families were stationed in Germany in the 70’s and invited her to be a part of Gotcha’ Covered. We are honored to have Diane as one of our fifty charter contributors to the book, and today we honor her work and that of all Armed Forces nurses, including our fellow Gotcha’ Covered writers, Karen Starr, Lt. Col (ret), US Army Nurse Corps, who served for 28 years, including four years of active duty and Lydia Grubb, who completed seven years of service as a flight nurse in the Air National Guard, retiring as a captain. “Thanks for your service.”