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  • Writer's pictureNational Women's History Alliance

Women and Memorial Day

Remembering the Women Who Served and Died

Source: National Women's History Alliance Blog repost

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Join us as we honor the women who served and who paid the ultimate price, and whose stories have far too often disappeared from history.

Women like Ellen May Tower who volunteered as a nurse during the Spanish-American War, and who contracted typhoid fever while treating wounded and sick soldiers in Puerto Rico and died on December 9, 1898. Or women like Clara Ayres and Helen Burnett Wood, US Army nurses who died on May 17, 1917, following an accident on board USS Mongolia.

Nurses (l-r) Ellen May Tower, Helen Burnett Wood, and Clara Ayres

We will pause to honor the nearly 400 women serving as military nurses during World War I who died on US soil during the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918 when it swept through crowded military camps, hospitals, and ports of embarkation, many of whom contracted the illness while treating sick soldiers. A tragedy made all the more poignant this year.

As women’s involvement in the military expanded, even more women have put themselves in the path of danger in their service to country. Of the approximately 400,000 U.S. women who served with the armed forces during World War II, as many as 543 died in war-related incidents, including 16 from enemy fire and 38 brave Women’s Airforce Service Pilots who perished during the war.

But this weekend, while we honor these women whose service was recorded, we will also remember the countless women who were unable to serve in any official capacity, but who still volunteered for civilian service and put themselves at risk. Women who served as spies or cared for soldiers or served in any way they could, including disguising themselves as men to fight, and die, for their country.

You can read more about the importance of remembering the women who served in the military in our article “Why Women’s Military History is Important” which originally appeared in Homeland Magazine in March 2019 for Women’s History Month.

A special thank you from Happy Mommy Hour and Happy Mommy REALTOR® for sharing the history of the women who serve in Armed Forces. Thank you to all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to endure our freedoms. Today we honor and remember you.




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