School of Nursing

November 10, 2020

Remembering our Veterans

We recently had a presidential election. Thanks to decades of men and women willing to serve their country, your right to vote in that election was preserved. It’s worth remembering that on Veterans Day, November 11.

Military veterans are owed our gratitude and a lot more. Whether they fought in a war or not, each made an enormous personal sacrifice to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. Many interrupted schooling, left families, and risked their lives so that we could have the freedom to agree and disagree and elect the person we felt was best qualified to guide the country.

These veterans deserve health care access that is prompt, professional, and responsive to all their needs. Many veterans return with physical wounds; many more have psychological wounds that are less visible but no less painful. For far too long, veterans have not been given the care they need and earned.

While you’re honoring the sacrifices made by veterans, take one more moment to recognize the largely unknown and un-celebrated contributions nurses have made to people in military service. Their service dates back to 1775, when George Washington asked Congress to approve provisioning one nurse for every 10 patients who were in military hospitals.

Nurses have been part of war and peace for the military since then. They’ve served in every war since, from the Spanish-American War of 1898 through our most recent conflicts. Today, more than 28,000 nurses serve in the military, in hospitals and battle zones around the globe. Along with compassionate and capable medical care, they provide hope, encouragement, and comfort.

Though 28,000 sounds like a large number of nurses, it is dwarfed by the 74,000 who served during WW II. It was this war in which nurses were first found at and near the front lines; 91 nurses were captured on Corregidor (Philippines) and held for 37 months in Japanese prison camps, where they continued to minister to the wounded and sick.

Reflecting today’s profession, military nurses serve in a wide variety of clinical, research, administrative and management capacities.

They and our military veterans are united by a proud tradition of service and dedication. Today and every day, we honor veterans’ sacrifices to our nation.