Monday, November 21, 2011
Nurses Missing in Action
This is Remembrance month, when we remember the fallen of previous wars. This blog is dedicated to the forgotten fallen--the women who gave their lives during the First World War. Since starting the blog, I have discovered I am not alone in this task of reclamation. People from all over the world--men and women--have shared their stories and desire to remember these women. Recently, I received a few emails from a colleague in Australia, librarian and fellow researcher, Maggie White. She sent me an article entitled "Australian World War I Nurses: Missing in Action." The author, Ruth Rae, argues that we have a particular blind spot when it comes to remembering the fallen nurses of the First World War. She says that this blind spot isn't new--in fact, nurses were lamenting it during the war itself. She quotes Australian nursing sister, Haynes in a letter home. Haynes wrote that she had sent poetry to the local paper because "They are always so keen on ‘our boys’ – no one ever hears of ‘our girls’, and it would be a good chance to mention that we are here. One bit in the paper said that the Sisters had arrived and…without a comma even, said the horses were in good condition." This month, I hope that more people around the world have celebrated the sacrifice of "our girls" alongside "our boys."