Some women veterans of World War II who had been denied burial in Arlington National Cemetery are now allowed that honor. Earlier this week, Congress passed a bill permitting female pilots—known as WASPS—the high honor of being buried in what really is sacred ground.
According to Stars and Stripes, members of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots have been working to right this wrong since the Army last year reinterpreted a law from the 1970s that banned them from Arlington burials as a way to deal with the increasingly limited space there. These brave Fly Girls were trained pilots who transported combat aircraft from 1942-1944, but were not considered active-duty service members at the time.
Thank goodness that was remedied, and the WASPS have since been given the Congressional Gold Medal and veteran benefits for their service. They stepped into roles outside of the norm for women, and should be recognized for that. This really has nothing to do with the controversy over women in combat roles. I don’t personally believe that’s the proper role for women, but they do have a place if they choose to have one within the military.
I once knew a guy who was a veteran who used to refer to female Marines as “WOMAN Marines”. But he said it with a certain amount of disdain in his voice as if their service was somehow less than his own. I got the impression he didn’t see them as fellow Marines who just happened to be female. It’s like the ignorant boss who looks down on his secretary without getting a clue that she (or he for that matter) makes his job easier (if he or she is good at what they do).
I give that above example just as a way to explain that all veterans—male and female—have given something of themselves to preserve the ideas of the American experiment. They just do it in different ways. Most gave at least some of their time in their youth, their innocence; some lost limbs, sanity or relationships…others gave their lives. Even those who served in situations where they weren’t in danger should have our gratitude so long as they did it with honor.
There’s a sign outside of a veterans’ hospital in the area I grew up in that has this statement: “The price of freedom is visible here.” It can’t be said too often that freedom isn’t free—it always costs someone something. That’s true if we’re talking about the freedom we have within our nation, and the freedom we need within ourselves.
Today is Good Friday. Many Christians remember an even greater sacrifice that was made for all people of all times by the only One who could have made it. It wasn’t to save men from the clutches of an evil dictator or repressive government, but to save people from ourselves and the consequences of the sin we were all born into. Jesus died once for all of us to save us from an eternity apart from Him.
It didn’t take an act of Congress to do it…we just need to believe it.