may 22, 2015

In 1942, Oveta became the first woman to wear a US Army officer's uniform. The former executive VP of the Houston Post was recruited to enlist + oversee the women who served in World War II ~ 150,000 of them. Today, Oveta's words are engraved in granite alongside those of FDR + General Eisenhower at DC's National World War II Memorial, dedicated on Memorial Day in 2004.

Here are words + stories of courage to share in honor of those who've served.


"...I was determined,
then and always,
not to be a coward."

Deborah Sampson
the first {secretly female} US soldier


{unforgettable | She preserves...}

The indentured servant of a deacon who became the first known woman to serve in the US military. A Revolutionary War hero who was posthumously awarded a pension by a special act of Congress.

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Deborah wasn't satisfied to sit on the sidelines of the American Revolution. She suited up in men's clothes, assumed her deceased brother's identity and signed on as a private in the Continental Army.

The secret soldier distinguished herself in combat before a wound at Tarrytown saw her honorably discharged. When Deborah revealed her true identity to her company after the war was won, her story became the stuff of legend ~ even seeing its way into print with a 1797 biography, The Female Review.

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As a woman, Deb didn't qualify for a military pension by law, but many influential folks petitioned on her behalf. Paul Revere, anyone?

Having to conceal her sex left the soldier in some tricky situations. Deborah regularly refused medical care, even when shot. She also unwittingly won the affections of a female admirer who Deb was sorry to disappoint. "Oh Woman!" she lamented in a letter ~ "Thy smile is more powerful than the conqueror's sword."

hear more...about why Deb was dubbed the Official Heroine of Massachusetts

"Find the meaning of whatever it is you're going through—because everybody's got something."

Robin Roberts
the gutsy GMA anchor


{remarkable | She overcomes...}

The daughter of an Air Force colonel posted in
Turkey + Mississippi. An aspiring basketball star who became a pioneering sportscaster instead. An
Emmy-winning Good Morning America host famous for her go-for-it attitude.

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Since Robin became an anchor for the most watched morning show on television, she has faced two very public battles with cancer in 2007 + 2012. After beating the disease a second time, ESPN honored the survivor with the Arthur Ashe Award for courage.

Courage is a quality Robin came by honestly. Her father was a Tuskegee Airman ~ one of the first
African-American military pilots. His "something" was fighting WWII abroad + segregation at home.

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Robin calls aviation her "second love" after broadcasting. ABC decided to make her flying dreams happen ~ by sending her to Tuskegee in 2003 to take to the skies in her dad's old plane...with the decorated pilot by her side.

"Everybody's got something" is also the title of Robin's latest bestselling book. She offered this shout-out in her acknowledgments ~ "It's one thing to love your family, but to actually like them is simply priceless."

discover more...about the lessons Robin learned from her other heroic parent

"A hero is an everyday,
ordinary person who has
done something extraordinary.

Honor them, praise them,
and hope you will stand
for what you believe in
during a time of need."

Ann Dunwoody
the first female 4-star general


{notable | She pioneers...}

A military brat who joined up in 1974 to "jump out of airplanes for two years" and ended up serving for 37. A former commanding general of the US Army Materiel Command + very current leadership expert.

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Ann's first command assignment was as a platoon leader at Oklahoma's Fort Sill. By the time she retired in 2012, the top logistician headed up a $60 billion operation with 69,000 employees in 145 countries. She may have left the military, but Ann continues to serve ~ sharing the lessons of her four-decade career in talks, seminars + her hot-off-the-press book ~ A Higher Standard.

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Ann's father was a third-generation West Point man, three-time war hero + her "first four-star teacher.” He earned two purple hearts...often joking that the second simply proved he was "slow learner." The 90-year-old brigadier general defied doctor's orders to see his daughter's historic 2008 promotion ceremony {and was officially the proudest person in the Pentagon}.

Take a tip from a lady who's no stranger to inspections ~ "Never walk past a mistake."

hear more...about Ann's high standards

Fixing the
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theme: courage + valor


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What's she saying now? Conversation starters on trending topics...

"I love that black and white and red-orange houndstooth pantsuit. And I love that moment...she's in Don's old office, and she's wearing pants. Peggy has arrived."

~ Janie Bryant
the designer whose costuming for Mad Men beautifully captured a by-gone era + inspired current collections at Brooks Brothers and Banana Republic   |   taking a moment during the show's finale to reflect on her favorite outfits from its 7 {very stylish} seasons

"Here's a big idea: those who truly innovate are those who take responsibility for the culture they create."

~ Kate Clancy
the anthropologist who sparked the #girlswithtoys trend on Twitter {with a photo of her daughter, the 7-year-old ornithology enthusiast}   |   responding to an astrophysicist interviewed on NPR who stereotyped scientists as "boys with toys"

"You should not do this work if you're not audacious."

~ Etharin Cousin
the executive director of the UN's World Food Programme who was named to Fast Company's 2015 list of the most creative people in business   |   speaking to her organization's audacious mission ~ "zero hunger"

~ ~ ~


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