Our Sisters that Served in Vietnam, Welcome Home!
The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 110-181 sec 598) empowers the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program on behalf of the nation that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. This law also authorizes the Secretary to coordinate, support and facilitate federal, state, and local governments commemorative programs and activities. On May 25, 2012 ,”The United States of American Vietnam War Commeration” was formed by presidential proclamation on May 25, 2012, being Memorial Day 2012 through Veterans Day 2025. Under the current administration in 2017; March 29th was named as Vietnam War Veterans Day (Presidential Proclamation Regarding Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017).
Along with Vietnam War Veterans Day on the 29th, March has been designated as Women’s History Month. The Department of Veterans’ Services would like to take this opportunity to recognize all of our women veterans and pay special tribute to our Women Veterans that served in Vietnam.
During the Vietnam Conflict, men and women played different yet equally important roles. Approximately 7500 women served in Vietnam as nurses and administrative support staff while many more chose to volunteer with humanitarian organizations such as the Red Cross to support our nation.
In 2017 the Women Veterans’ Network gave the Deborah Sampson Award to LTC Jay Barrett (Ret. USA) who served with the 82nd Airborne as a nurse. Today, Jay continues to serve the veteran community through her work with the Veterans Administration as a Nurse Manager for Women’s Health in Jamaica Plain and Brockton VA facilities.
Athough, women were not authorized to serve in combat roles women were often found on the front lines providing critical services to our forces. Today, those rules have changed; in March 2016, Ash Carter, the Secretary of Defense at the time, approved final plans from military service branches and the U.S. Special Operations Command to open all combat jobs to women, authorizing the military to begin integrating female combat soldiers “right away”.
Men that served with these brave women in country in Vietnam have stated “the nurses that served in Vietnam were the bravest women they have ever seen.”. We recognize the women that served in Vietnam and Korea and before and thank them for their service and blazing a trail for all women veterans since to follow.
Below are the names of the women who paid the ultimate price during the Vietnam War. Their memory remains immortalized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC., they include:1st Lt. Sharon Ann Lane, 2nd Lt. Pamela Dorothy Donovan, Col. Annie Ruth Graham, Mary Therese Klinker, 2nd Lt. Carol Ann Elizabeth Drazba, 2nd Lt. Elizabeth Ann Jones, Eleanor Grace Alexander, 1st Lt. Hedwig Diane Orlowski; these are the names of the fallen that appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. They are not forgotten. Forever grateful for their service and sacrifice.
What Is Whole Health And Why Is It The Hot New Thing at the VA?
For years, when I go to the doctor’s office, someone asks me “What’s the matter with you?” or something similar to that. I guess they assume I am there because I have something wrong with me. But what would it be like if someone asked me “What matters to you?” Rather than telling them about my aches and pains, I might tell them I would like to get back to skiing or that gardening makes me happy and lately I haven’t been able to do it as much because my knees and hip hurt. That is the very heart and soul of what makes Whole Health so important. The focus is on me, what is important to me in my life, what may get in the way of participating in what is important to me, and various ways to work towards being able to do it. How can I take charge of my life? How can the clinicians I work with help me to realize my goals?
Here at the VA, we are asking those very questions. We are looking at eight components of health and wellbeing, identifying those where we are very strong and those where we have challenges. These area include Working your Body (energy and flexibility), Surroundings (physical and emotional), Personal Development (personal life and work life), Food and Drink (nourishing and fueling), Recharge (sleep and refresh), Family, Friends, and Coworkers (relationships), Spirit and Soul (growing and connecting), and Power of the Mind (Relaxing and Healing). What does this mean? Let’s look at our surroundings, for example. Are they cluttered, with harsh light, too noisy, too disorganized? If this causes me distress and makes it difficult to concentrate and stay focused, I might work on creating a soothing, organized place to do my best thinking. The whole health model is a holistic look at the many areas of life that can affect your health — your work environment, relationships, diet, sleep patterns, and more. (The Components of Proactive Health and Well-Being helps illustrate how these areas are all interconnected.
Important to Whole Health is also the inclusion of both conventional medical help as well as complementary approaches to health, such as yoga, acupuncture, massage, tai chi, and more. For example, if my goals include getting in better shape and losing weight so that my knees and hip don’t hurt as much and will help me to get back to skiing and gardening, my provider might suggest I look at the use of yoga. This video might be my inspiration.
In the upcoming months, we all have opportunities to explore various health and wellness activities. Some of the highlights include: VA Boston Wellness Fair on June 6th from 10-2 at the Brockton campus by building 23/Gym, Bedford VA Wellness Fair on June 22nd from 10-2 on the Oval (2nd Annual Women Veterans’ Health Fair “Innovative Care for Exceptional Women), Women’s Yoga group at VA Boston on the JP campus (for a full list of classes and events: VA Boston and VA Bedford) or the Healthy Living program at VA Central Western MA (VA Central Mass).
Learn more here learn more about this whole health approach.