Sunday, June 15, 2014
Reading Related to the recent D-Day Anniversary Celebration
Inspired by Diane Burke Fessler's "No Time For Fear-Voices of American Military Nurses in World War II", I continued to explore the topic with a history by Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee called "And If I Perish - Frontline US Army Nurses in World War II". From the very beginning of the war, the Japanese attack and invasion of various Pacific Islands, the entrapment of dozens of nurses in the Phillipines (where they remained til the end of the war in concentration camps), the initial recruiting and training of what would be about 70,000 nurses from the homeland; this book tells it all. Then proceeds to describe the evolving policies and tactics for incorporating medical support with the invading American troops from Africa to Sicily and the terrible, dangerous situation at Anzio. Eventually, the preparation and support for the invasion of France in the June 6, 1944 D-Day. Finally, the confusion after VE Day (how to get those in Europe immediately to the Pacific) or how long would those in Europe remain with the occupation? After the many nurses returned home, there were periods of readjustment and restlessness. I have mentioned my Mother was involved as a dietitian, late in the war in France. From reading this book, I understand why, as a 4-year- old, I would sit listening to my young, stay-at-home Mother, tell stories more exciting than fairy tales, while she smoked purple and pink cigarettes and sipped creme de menthe.