To A Female Veteran.

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Detail, Vietnam Women's Memorial, Washington, DC. Photo: Wikipedia
Detail, Vietnam Women’s Memorial, Washington, DC. Photo: Wikipedia

Dear Female Veteran:

Thank you for taking a job with a company who is up front about the fact that what you do might kill you. Thank you for rolling those dice. Thank you for actually doing what I say I would “totally do” if I got drafted. Thank you for having the courage to not wait to get drafted.

Thanks for saving my life, my sisters’ lives, the lives of all the women in my quilt guild, my mother, the niece I hope to have someday. Thank you for saving my friend Heather’s life, my friend Bari’s life, my Aunt Leesa’s life. Thank you for saving the plot where my paternal grandmother is buried, the plot where my maternal grandmother is buried, the lives of my friend Annie’s daughters and the lives of all three of my beautiful female cousins. Thank you for all those lives and all the millions of other girls’ lives you protected or protect now or will protect when you get out of basic.

Thank you, Female Veteran, for doing the hard part. There are times — no one can honestly deny it — the mud on your boots is muddier than the mud on the boots of the guy in front of you because you’re a girl and it’s different for you, different because some things really are different and different because they tell you they are, even when they aren’t. All of us out here, all us girls, we get it. Thank you for doing it for us, for not just matching the guy in front of you but for exhausting yourself further to prove our worth. I promise you, I am trying in my own ways. But I can’t bounce a quarter off my bed, so you win.

We are so distracted. We are inside a box of Cheez-Its watching Say Yes To the Dress! — but if I start listing all the things I’m ashamed of, you’ll miss some kind of checkpoint thing and get in trouble and that is the opposite of what I want for you right now. Thank you for fighting for us anyway, even if we’re inside a box of Cheez-Its.

Happy Veteran’s Day, Female Veteran. I really love this country, even so. And we don’t have it,  I don’t have it, without every single one of you.

Love,
Mary

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