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Woman veteran asks for unity

To the editor:

I am writing this on behalf of my fellow female veterans among us. The trend these days is for our male veteran brothers to wear ball caps displaying their veteran status showing their service in Vietnam, the ship they served on or even their retirement for the many loyal years serving our country. God bless ’em!

I met my husband, Gordon, 51 years ago during the Vietnam War. We were going through basic training and we met at the Naval Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Illinois. We were in the same 68-32 Company. Just a year ago, Gordon and I hosted a reunion for our Naval Corps classmates. One of our long-known brothers in uniform gave me a cap to display my service in the United States Navy as a woman veteran. For anyone reading this who served active duty for any length of time, in peacetime or war, you know the brother/sisterhood and family bond that exists among us. I cannot explain it, but it is most definitely there.

There has never been a draft for women. Women that chose to serve joined the ranks voluntarily. We loved our country enough to give years of our lives away from family to lend a hand and hopefully make a difference. I believe there are quite a few of us gals out here and our hearts are still very proud of our time we served our country in uniform.

Most of us ladies are not ball cap wearers. Awhile ago, I proudly laid my veteran’s cap on the dash of my car while I went shopping inside Fareway grocery store. Someone noticed my cap and left me a kind, short note on my windshield. It read, “Thanks for serving our country.” As I read the sweet note with tears, I quickly looked around me to see if I could locate you.

Americans are known for pulling together when we are attacked or a calamity hits our nation. Just as a beautiful old heirloom quilt may start to unravel and pull apart at some of the seams hidden to the eye of the beholder until it becomes a real repair job, I see our beloved nation unraveling, pulling apart and dividing before us. Under the cover of our First Amendment of free speech, we are tolerating hateful, evil words and darts of poison that are dividing us all. (The Civil War comes to my mind as I write this.) May we see with a clear vision and as an army of one and begin to defuse the hateful words around us. Our nation was conceived under the Almighty no matter who our president is now or will be this coming election. Ultimately, Jesus will always be king. One by one, we can make a difference in the American way of pledging to the flag, one nation under God.

Peggy (Maxwell) Chalstrom

Moorland