"Every morning, I get up, get out of bed, and get on my knees and thank God for waking up in America ... (She is) the light of the world ... A nation of heroes ... The real stars are wearing body armor on top of their battle dress uniforms in 130 degree heat and they do not have stunt doubles to come in for them when the going gets rough and the bullets and the shrapnel start flying. They are the real stars, fighting terrorism and trying to free a nation.”
Actor, comedian, and writer
From a presentation to Young America's Foundation Conference
Last Female World War One Vet Dies at 109
APBOONSBORO, Md. (March 29) - The last known surviving American female World War I veteran, a refined Civil War buff who met face-to-face with the Secretary of the Navy to fight for women in the military, has died. She was 109.
Charlotte Winters died Tuesday at a nursing home near Boonsboro in northwest Maryland, the U.S. Naval District in Washington said in a statement. Her death leaves just five known surviving American World War I veterans.
In 1916, Winters met with Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to persuade him to allow women in the service, said Kelly Auber, who grew up on South Mountain, where Winters and her husband, John Winters, settled.
When the Navy opened support roles to women, Winters and her sister, Sophie, joined immediately in 1917, Auber said. By December 1918, the Naval District said more than 11,000 women had enlisted and were serving in support positions.
Winters served as a secretary and retired in 1953 with the rank of yeoman in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
Friends said she was proud of her role but didn't like to be fussed over as she grew older and there were fewer and fewer WWI veterans alive.
"Why are they doing this for me? I don't deserve all this," Doug Bast of Boonsboro recalled her saying.
Auber said Winters was "an absolutely refined lady" who with her husband was fond of traveling the country looking for burial spots of fallen Civil War generals.
"She was very proud of her accomplishments, and when asked, she'd say it was the thing to do, to be patriotic. And, she was very patriotic," Auber told The Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
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03-29-07 03:46 EDT
One of my dearest and closest friends is deploying next Tuesday (the 20th) any words of advice would be very much appreciated! I'm definetely going to have trouble adjusting. I'm not freaking out because of him, I'm freaking out because of me. I know that makes no sense, but it's very hard to explain.
Valentines for Veterans
If you’re looking for a fun and meaningful mid-winter project to do with your community or civic organization, scouting group, or your kids or grandkids, “Valentines for Veterans” may be just what you’re looking for.
Sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the week of February 11 is “National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans” week. VA Secretary Jim Nicholson says that since the observance includes Valentine’s Day, the week encourages Americans from all walks of life, particularly children, to send Valentine greetings to veterans at local VA medical centers and to visit the veterans there, according to the VA Web site. “Valentines for Veterans” started in 1989, with help from renowned newspaper columnist Ann Landers and support from various VA secretaries; and 18 years later, the program has become a holiday tradition.
In a letter to “Annie’s Mailbox,” the syndicated column written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of Ann Landers’ column, Secretary Nicholson says that that through the support of “Annie” and her readers, the program has “generate[d] more than 10 million cards and letters for hospitalized veterans and tens of thousands of visits from community members. Hundreds of people step forward each year to join the ranks of VA’s volunteers.”
Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to say “thank you” to the more than 98,000 men and women veterans who are cared for every day in VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, domiciliaries and nursing homes throughout the country. All you need to get started is a desire to bring a smile to a veterans face. Valentines of all kinds are encouraged—store-bought and homemade cards alike. Your group can purchase boxes of the inexpensive fold-and-seal kids’ valentines or create your own with craft supplies on hand. Inside messages can range from “thanks for your service” to “happy hearts day.” To send completed cards or to volunteer to visit veterans, contact the Voluntary Service Director at your local VA medical facility. To locate a VA medical center near you, visit the facilities locator page on the VA’s Web site.
Read the full text of Secretary Nicholson’s letter to “Dear Annie” and her response.