Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Women in the Military and Combat

Me in my uniform 1964 or 1965.

I admit that it would be difficult for me to put myself into the shoes of a woman in the military.  I was an honorary Colonel in the ROTC Sponsor Corps when I was in college.  I never had to survive boot camp, learn hand-to-hand combat, practice shooting and cleaning weapons, or to be trained in other skills needed to become successful in the military.  We did drill and practice maneuvers necessary to prepare for military parades.  I enjoyed the amiability of a group working for one outcome—looking sharp in the ceremonies and parades in which we were to participate.  On several occasions I was able to accompany the ROTC rifle team to rifle meets.

Mini Sponsor reunion for EWU classes 1963 to 1967.  At the Davenport in 2007, Left to right Darleen Crosby, Donna Cranford, Cathy Stohs, JoAnn Blocklinger, Sue Meadows, Linda Lewis, Kathy Meadows, Bobbi Stowell, Laura Barbre , Sue Ramsey, Pam Cook.

For a woman to become a  “Sponsor” you would meet with a group of the officers of the Sponsor Corps and were asked questions.  When I was a freshman I “tried” out.  I don’t know exactly why I was selected to join the group but I do remember one question I was asked.  I was asked if I would ever be interested in enlisting in the military.  I answered that I would be interested.  My father had been on active duty during World War II and was currently a Reserve Officer.  I had a high regard and great admiration for the military.

To make a long story short I became Commander of the Sponsor Corps by default when I was a senior.  We elected officers and only seniors were eligible to become commander. I was elected as Vice Commander.  All the women were required to be single and by the time we were seniors only about 3 of us were still single.  Fall quarter the commander dropped out to get married.  So I ended up as Commander for winter and spring quarters.

When Leon Panetta opened positions for women to serve in combat I began to think about why women in the military would want these jobs.  Of course they would be patriotic and want to defend our country from our enemies but couldn’t they do this in supportive rolls?   Then there is the story of Deborah in the Bible in Judges 4-5.  She was a prophetess who led Israel to victory over Canaanites.  Maybe God is doing something to put a woman in the right place at the right time.  But maybe this is just a political thing.  Here is a Facebook quote a classmate sent me.

Here is a FB quote of a female CW2 combat veteran pilot:
“I'm sorry, but I find this to be a complete outrage. Being in support MOS's that wind up in combat is one thing, but to be opening combat arms positions to women IMHO is the worst thing they could do. We have an ELITE military for many reasons, one of them being COHESION. The Infantry is NOT a place for women, and THIS woman is PROUD enough of our MEN who fight those fights to admit that they need to be FREE of distraction, and able to enjoy the BROTHERHOOD and cohesion of all-male units.”

I would agree with her and hope our politicians aren’t using this to get reelected or to do a culture change or whatever.  It will be interesting to see what happens as a result of this policy.

December 2015--all positions are opened to women.  See here for thoughts from The Cripplegate blog. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blast from the Past

A few years back my husband and I traveled to Alexandria, VA for my high school reunion. One thing I wanted to do while we were in Virginia was to visit my old childhood church, Calvary Presbyterian.  I even wanted to gather together the kids who had been in my confirmation class to attend church together one Sunday while we were there.  Two of the women, Carolyn and Ruth, from my confirmation class, agreed to go to church with me, while one of the men, Lee, from our class still attended church there. 

Later that year, Carolyn, sent me a DVD of the history for Calvary.  After WW II, many servicemen, home from the military moved into the area, starting families in what became this suburb of Washington D.C.  There was one elementary school (Mount Eagle Elementary) in the area; and no church.  One family with children, however, did go to church every Sunday. To do so, they had to travel outside of the area every Sunday, and soon realized that the many other children in our area didn’t have a church.  So, they took it upon themselves to begin a Sunday school in their home.  No surprise that before long there were so many children attending, and that they had to move the Sunday school to Mount Eagle Elementary. 

Others in in the community took note and they saw a need for their own church building.  This group acquired land and soon completed a basement. The Sunday school, and the fledgling Church, met there, and in the school, for many years, before eventually completing the main, brick building and sanctuary.  During this time the church had several Pastors with the Rev. McPherson serving the congregation the longest.

This service at the church was a special homecoming for me, as we sang many old hymns, which I love.  Then, after the service we met in the basement for refreshments. I had to laugh to myself when I noticed the basement had the same brown floor tiles (which by the way, my older brother, Jay, moped when he was the church janitor some 5o years previously). 

When my youngest brother, Wayne, was a Cub Scout in 1961 or '62 he was a member of the pack at Calvary.  My dad was one of the leaders.  My brother wanted his little friend to join the troop, but his friend was black. Being in the non-integrated South at the time, the other pack leaders refused to let my brother’s friend join.  So my dad and brother changed to a different pack and and the friend joined with them. 

During this visit, to Calvary, I saw that the church now has about a 50-50 mix of white members and black members. It is wonderful how times have changed.

Recently I found in my parent’s belongings a sermon written by our beloved pastor, Rev. McPherson.  (I have been sorting my parent’s belongings since 2003 when my dad passed away (my mom passed away two years before my dad)). The sermon text I read really didn’t teach the gospel and wasn’t what I would call an inspiring sermon, but I knew the love of Jesus in that church, and from that pastor.  I’m sure other sermons would include the gospel, as I knew what I believed as a child but not why I believed it.  That came later when I began to study the Bible in Bible Study Fellowship and Precepts Bible Study.

Next blog I’ll write about women pastors and women in combat in the military.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My Sister Evy and Civil Rights

My younger sister, Evy, who passed away at age 49 from cancer, was a wonderful sister to me.  I miss her so much, but I know that I will see her in Heaven some day.  One time a friend of ours from Alexandria, VA, Charlotte Watkins, wrote a memoir of Evy.  Charlotte and her family including her sister, Ellen, was our neighbor in Alexandria.  Here is what she wrote about Evy’s trip to visit her family after they had moved away.

Evy visited us in Greensboro, NC, where we moved after
Alexandria. I do not remember how she got to Greensboro, but she
went home by train all by herself. This impressed me. Alexandria and
Washington, D.C. did not have as much of the Segregation aspects of the South as did Greensboro. The year we moved there was the year (1960) or the year after some young black college men came into Greensboro’s Woolworth’s Five & Ten Cent Store and sat at the counter asking to be served. If you lived in the South, or for that
matter, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston anywhere whites were afraid
blacks would take their jobs, etc., then you knew this Was Not Done.
Blacks sent a white friend in to buy food, or went to the back door.
Then they ate sitting on crates or garbage cans in the alley or
maybe went to the park. But they had to move if a white person
wanted the bench. I don’t think Evy had ever seen “WHITES ONLY”
signs over water fountains or on bathroom doors. I don’t recall if
she said anything but I remember she was quiet whenever she saw one.
Ellen & I had never, except my first year & her first 3 in
Henderson, NC, been to segregated schools, but we went back to visit
relatives in NC enough that the sight of these signs was “just the
way it was”. (Ellen & I both marched in Civil Rights campaigns when
we were older and I taught 12 years at a “ghetto” school 85% black.)
Anyway, Evy in her own quiet way, did something. Trains were also
Segregated back then in the South, with a car for whites up front
and a car for blacks at the back. The conductor helped Evy into
the “white” car, but as we stood there waving and saying good-bye,
we saw her pick up her bag and start walking to the back. As we
watched, and we moved back on the platform following her progress,
we saw her in the “Black” coach take a seat by the window. She was
smiling a big smile as she waved to us! I remember my Dad laughing
appreciatively at her “taking a stand or rather a seat for justice”
and wondering if they would make her move. Mom said she would pray
they would not. We were proud of Evy for her act of courage.
Cousin Janet and Evy when they were my bridesmaids in 1965.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's My Baby...

Societies change.  In the mid-twentieth century the United States transformed from the values our country was founded upon (and what we taught our children) into something that we don’t recognize today. Instead of imparting the golden rule to our children we:
·      Look out for number one.   
·      Do your own thing. 
·      No more of this nice guy stuff. 
·      Whatever feels good do it. 
Instead of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" it is now, "Do unto others -- then split!"  And this is even happening in the Church today! Many people who call themselves “Christians” now chase after what the world offers: sex, money, fame, and suchlike (oh yeah, don't forget drugs and Rock and Roll Idols).  
Case in point: abortion?  First, it is fair to say that most Churchgoers believe that God creates human life. And, in the last 70 years science has shown that from moment of fertilization, the egg (or probably more correctly the embryo) holds a unique human DNA.   Therefore, it goes without saying that a fertilized egg is human life.  Since, it is the commonly held belief within the Church, that man does not determine when life begins or ends (this is in the dominion of God), a fundamental question arises: should man then destroy human life with abortion?  Arguably, up to one-half in the Church have supported abortion (or at the very least given their approval through their silence.)   "What about the suffering of the woman," they rationalize, "isn’t she more important than an unborn baby, should she be punished with a baby?" Or the often heard, " Women will seek out abortion anyway, so let’s take it out of the back alley and make it safe."
Planned Parenthood reported that in 2011 they preformed 333,964 abortions—up from 329,445 in 2010.  Are there that many women who need this surgery desperately? Is abortion being used as a birth control method or selective abortion of female fetuses?  How many women have had complications from this operation?  Have infections, damage to the woman’s reproductive organs, or death been worth it?
Now instead of having a procedure such as this done by Planned Parenthood a pharmaceutical has been produced so an abortion can be performed in the comfort of your own home.  Taking into account the best scientific research and laboratory tests, the FDA still says that morning-after pills can prevent human embryos from implanting—thus causing the destruction of human life. That’s the main fact that every party to this debate needs to get straight.  Will the Church remove their brains out of the fog and admit that these pills are destroying life?  Will more women die or experience serious infections because of these pills?
So was the Supreme Court correct to rule that abortion was a constitutional right?
In Missouri and 17 other states, the laws recognize a fetus as living at the time of conception.  In the case of former pro football player for the Carolina Panthers, Rae Carruth, was convicted of conspiracy to commit the murder of Cherica Adams, who was seven months pregnant with his child. He was also found guilty of shooting into an occupied vehicle and of using an instrument to kill a fetus. Adams died of a result of the gunshot wounds but her child, delivered by Caesarean section survived. Rue received close to the maximum sentence of 19 to 24 years in prison.
On April 1, 2004, President Bush signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as "Laci and Conner's Law." The new law states that any "child in utero" is considered to be a legal victim if injured or killed during the commission of a federal crime of violence. The bills definition of "child in utero" is "a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."” About.com
Therefore there are some laws protecting the unborn but abortion is still rampant in the United States.  Some have called the killing of these unborn babies a holocaust.  
John the Baptist wasn’t afraid to tell King Herod the truth in another matter in Matthew 1: 3-4.  “3 For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. 4 For John had been saying to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her.”  Is the Church in the U.S. brave enough to tell our country the truth?
But now we tolerate a law called Obamacare that mandates that insurance covered by employers for their employees provide drugs to cause abortion.   Civil rights for the unborn have been violated.  What will the Church do?  Will we draw a line and hold to it as President Obama pushes against the Church?  If the Church had rallied together and stood against Hitler and not given in, would Hitler have been stopped?   What will we say to God when we appear before Him?