“Valor knows no gender.” These were the words of President Obama today in a statement supporting the “official” role of U.S. service women defending freedom on the front lines. The decision by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to lift the ban on women serving in active combat has been met with profound support by the Congress as well.
To date, America has actually lost more than 150 military women in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, another 1,000 women have been wounded in these most recent wars.
The most often repeated concern is whether women can be in as physical fit condition as the men in their battalions. Can they be strong enough, fast enough, and tough enough? How will they endure the great physical hardships and unbearable sufferings of their male counterparts?
Mother Goose knows first hand that women can endure hardships and sufferings. Are we not wives and mothers, lawyers and doctors, professors and publishers, congresswomen, senators and secretaries of state? Can it even get any more difficult than supervising a road construction crew or captaining a crab fishing boat off the coast of Alaska?
Secretary Panetta recently visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. He observed rows upon rows of crosses representing our fallen warriors through the years. Seeing no distinction between men and women who had died in service to our nation, he said, “They serve, they’re wounded, and they die right next to each other. The time has come to recognize that reality.”
Mother Goose is happy to hear that women will now officially receive this great opportunity to serve their country in an official sense. Of course, women have been in very dangerous support roles for years and years. They carry the same guns as the guys — why not give them the honor of fighting the enemy and receiving the same honors as men warriors.
Who can ever forget Lady Eowyn who fought so valiantly in the Battle of Pellenor Fields in Tolkien’s classic, Lord of the Rings?
And, of course, there’s the most brave and divine Joan of Arc who led the French army to several important victories in the Hundred Years’ War.
Even in the Bible there’s the beautiful and somewhat graphic account of Deborah leading the Israeli army against their enemies, especially against the forces of Jabin, king of Canaan and his military commander Sisera (the narrative is recounted in chapter 4 of the Book of Judges). And working in a rather special ops capacity was Jael, the wife of Heber, a Kenite tent maker. Jael killed Sisera by driving a tent peg through his temple as he slept.
Yes, there will be the obvious challenges, but women throughout the ages have always risen to their challenges and proven themselves worthy of every test of their courage and strength.
Personally, Mother Goose is hideously afraid of guns and ammunition and bombs and mortars and tanks and humvees and fighter jets and rocket-launched grenades. I jump for fear when a dish tumbles onto the floor in the kitchen. Fortunately, Mother Goose will never be drafted into military service to the country!
But I applaud those women who know the calling to war and are honest enough with themselves to pursue their career objectives. I pray Lord give them power to succeed and peace to survive and your love to protect them always. It’s the same prayer that I offer up for all the men soldiers and sailors on my prayer card.
(Photo courtesy of Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)