With Memorial Day coming up, now is the time to reflect on our military heroes and their sacrifices. When you think of a military hero, your mind may automatically stray towards one of the many male soldiers that fought and died for our country. Or you may think of a father, brother, son or grandfather that serves or served in the military. Not often do we recognize and celebrate the females involved in war.
Although a somewhat archaic cultural belief, many American’s still think a woman’s role has nothing to do with the bloodiness of battle. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If anything, women have much more experience with blood than any man! We must all unite and work together, no matter what gender or race you fall into, to protect our country. No part is too small when we are safeguarding our future. So this memorial day, recognize some female heroines as well!
One such heroine is Lt. Annie G. Fox (August 4, 1893 – January 20, 1987), the first woman to receive the Purple Heart for combat. She served as the chief nurse in the Army Nurse Corps at Hickam Field during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941. At that time the awarding of the Purple Heart did not require the service person to be injured.
Fox was presented the Purple Heart on October 26, 1942 at Hickam Field by Colonel William Boyd. The Purple Heart was awarded for “outstanding performance of duty and meritorious acts of extraordinary fidelity. . . During the attack, Lieutenant Fox, in an exemplary manner, performed her duties as head Nurse of the Station Hospital. . . in addition she administered anaesthesia to patients during the heaviest part of the bombardment, assisted in dressing the wounded, taught civilian volunteer nurses to make dressings, and worked ceaselessly with coolness and efficiency, and her fine example of calmness, courage and leadership was of great benefit to the morale of all with whom she came in contact…”
The Purple Heart was originally established by General George Washington in 1782. It was re-instituted in 1932 for the bicentennial of Washington’s birth. Although generally awarded to service members wounded in action, it was also awarded for any “singularly meritorious act of extraordinary fidelity or essential service.”
Annie Fox stepped up to the plate when her country needed her most. Taking the steps to help others even when your own life is at risk is what makes a true hero. Let her serve as an example for us all and thank those who risk their lives to protect us this Memorial Day.