Sorrin's "The Nurse" Military Nurses in Vietnam

© Lou Sorrin -Prints Available

In Memoriam 

Bullet Women in Vietnam
From the wife of a soldier who was wounded:

  "most of all thank you for the care you gave my husband when he was wounded in Vietnam. And, thank you for all you gave to those who needed your care so much, when you were in Vietnam. 

I know I speak for the families and loved ones of those who made it home and for the families and loved ones of those who did not make it home: the sacrifices made by you and all of the medical personnel who served in Vietnam may not have been glorified; however, your presence was and continues to be held most dear by those for whom you cared and by their families and loved ones."

Cheryl Boswell
Denham Springs, Louisiana

Bullet Many Women Served
Bullet Red Cross
Bullet Military Women
Bullet Military Nurses
Bullet In Memoriam
Bullet Get Back in Touch
Bullet Bibliographies
Bullet Locater Service/Remarks
Bullet Free Newsletter
Bullet Videos/Stuff to Buy
Bullet Books
Bullet Photo Tours
Bullet Health Stuff
Bullet Help for Students

Divider

Looking for civilian nursesMedical Units?

Joe Muharsky's letter to Diane Carlson Evans during the struggle to get the Womens Memorial approved

"I did my share of killing and I saw my share of dying but I want you to know that before I ever heard of your cause I was giving a talk to high school students at South High School in Willoughby Ohio, and after I told them my story, as bad as it was, I asked them a question. I asked the students what they thought was the toughest job in Vietnam. Not one of them had the same answer I did. I told them I thought it was being a nurse."

In their Own Words
(first person accounts)

Rhona Marie Knox Prescott, Third Field Hospital, 616th Clearing Company, 85th Evac, ANC

That tent became our surgery. It was beyond primitive; it was beyond the MASH movie and TV show. It was dirty; it was a non-sterile environment. We didn't have enough instruments. We didn't have enough hands. Needless to say we shared things during surgical procedures that were absolutely needed to save lives, but they weren't sterile. We didn't have suction, we didn't have penicillin to irrigate wounds, didn't have enough blood to transfuse, we just didn't have... We did have so many casualties right out of the field. They just brought them all in there. The First Cav. put their people in that staging unit hoping that we could fix them and send them back into the war. So, we were [sigh] way above our heads.

TET -Jeanette Wolfe, 71st Evac, ANC

" The noise outside was tremendous and we could hardly hear ourselves think. Shells and mortars were dropping much closer than they ever were before, but I was so busy I was almost able to forget about it."

No I Lay Me Down to Sleep - Diana Dwan Poole

"One of my rules was that nurses were not allowed to cry. The wounded and dying men in our care need our strength, I told them. We couldn't indulge in the luxury of our own feelings. On the other hand, I was always straight with the soldiers. I would never say, "Oh, you're going to be just fine," if they were on their way out. I didn't lie."

The Nurse with Round Eyes - Gayle Smith

"Over and over and over.  I used to see these people - they'd come in and give them Purple Hearts on the ward.  And I'd look at them as they'd get their Purple Heart.  At that point, it looked like it might be meaningful to them,  so I didn't say anything.  I never said anything, never said anything about what a waste it was. I would never dream of doing that, because they knew it and it would hurt like hell if they heard it anyway."

Pauline Hebert  

"I think most Nam vets realize that there are no war survivors. For the living, there can never be peace. My poetry is my vehicle to transmit a compelling message about war's extreme cost paid by those who do come home. If one young man is spared the experience of going to war, by something I wrote, I will feel my life, after Vietnam, has been purposeful."

The Surgeon's Little Helpers - Susan O'Neill author of "Don't Mean Nothing"

"That was when, in many cases, we found the maggots.  The thought is repulsive. The first time I saw maggots in a wound, white and plump and squirming under the stained gauze, I nearly vomited. The doctor who was operating merely said, "'Ah--the Surgeon's Little Helpers.'"

"Then, for a number of reasons--including my inability to get along with the Director of Nursing--I asked for a transfer.  The Director of Nursing met my request with unbridled hostility. 'I'll send you somewhere," she snarled. "I'll send you to the worst hell-hole in Viet Nam.' And she sent me to Cu Chi."

Area Nurse Tends Wounded - Penelope Bolt, 8th Field Hospital (letter home)

"The Tet truce they talk about - well, I'll never get the blood out from under my fingernails."

Merry Christmas Vietnam - Claudia Clafflin Bahnmiller

"There are several songs which are sung frequently here in Vietnam such as "Are You Lonesome Tonight," "Five Hundred Miles," and "I Wanna Go Home." But an addition one holds meaning for me now -- "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Of course that's symbolic for all of CONUS (the US)."

Mommy, Did You Kill Anybody in the War? - Norma Boris, 67th Evac

"I never knew that tiny, slanted eyes could open SO wide and that children in such pain could be SO quiet. I still handle them in my nightmares."

A Call for Help - Theresa Morel Hudler, 12th Evac

"It was not common for nurses to fly evacuation runs, and I had never been in a helicopter before, but there was no one else free to go."

In Memory of the Young Bleeder, the Children, The World - Lynda Van Devanter

"It's the largest trail of blood leading to the table that I have ever seen. I slip on it because my eyes are drawn to the gurney where several people are transferring the soldier to the operating table. I watch in horror as the lower portion of his jaw, teeth exposed, dangles from what is left of his face. "

"It hurts so much sometimes to see the paper full of .demonstrators, especially people burning the flag. Fight fire with fire, we ask here. Display the flag, Mom and Dad, please, every day. And tell your friends to do the same. It means so much to us to know we're supported, to know not everyone feels we're making a mistake being here."

Scattered Memories - Lt. Col. Janis A. Nark

"I’m no heroine. I joined the Army Nurse Corps to go to Europe; that’s what my recruiter promised me.  I was 21 years old when I was ordered to Vietnam. "

Poetry by Marilyn McMahon  

Even Nurses Have War Stories - Anna Marie Rutallie, 91st Evac

"Over the past 27 years reactions to my being in Vietnam, from friends, family and strangers, has been as different as the people who I have met. "

Keynote Address at the Women's Memorial - Jean Youngstrom Diebolt, Air Force Nurse

"We were the most inexperienced group of medical personnel ever to serve in war time. And I was scared--not that I'd be wounded or killed--but that I wouldn't measure up, that I'd panic and freeze when a soldier's life depended on me."

Memorial Day Address - Patricia A. McGarvey. 2nd Surg, 93rd Evac

". . . we went on Medcap missions where we visited nearby Vietnamese villages and set up clinics to treat children with common eye infections, intestinal diseases found in the tropics, and skin diseases from the ever-present tropical bacteria. "

Memorial Day Address at the Wall - Janet Southby

"Why are you here?" It was easy to tell them the truth: If you were my brother, father, husband or son, I would want to know that qualified, compassionate and skilled American nurses were here caring for you to the very best of their ability.

Letter to Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric - Nancy A. Lilja, ANC, 3rd Surg, 1970

"The W.W.II vet and W.W.I and the forgotten Korean vet all deserve our respect but not at the expense of MEN and WOMEN who served in an unpopular war that their generation started. It was the wise old Men of the W.W.II era that got us into that war."

'First Warrior' shows face of American Indian veterans - Connie Walker-Evans (Nez Perce), Ret. CMDR, USPHS, ANC 1965-1969

"I feel bad that I cannot remember their names, but I cannot forget the severity of their wounds and their young faces. Nor the hopelessness and sadness I felt as so many of their lives slipped away."

More Poetry Websites

In Their Own Pictures
(photo tours)

Nancy Quirk Lilja, ANC

Chris Banigan, ANC

Marie Winin, ANC

Judy Baker Williams, ANC

Pamela Dorothy Donovan, ANC

Army Nurse Corps Uniforms, ca. 1968

Martha F. Green 

As Told To
(interviews)

Sapper Attack! - Diane Houser and Margaret Cohee were at "nice, safe Cam Rahn Bay"

"I saw sparks on the floor," she said, "but they didn't register. I thought the window had been broken by the concussion of the explosions outside. I didn't find out until later that four sticks of TNT together with a detonator and a fuse, were lying on the floor . . ."

"We were all that stood between them and death" - Joyce Messamore Neiman of the 95th Evac.

"One looked like he was peacefully sleeping. He was dead on arrival. A bullet from the ground had hit his helicopter and entered under his chin. His skull had been emptied of all life."

To Vietnam and Back Again: A Nurse’s Tale - Judy Hartline Elbring, ANC Qui Nhon, An Khe,
                                                                                                         Chu Lai, Da Nang

"It was a beautiful, exquisite country," she remembers. I was the first American woman many had seen, and the Vietnamese were very, very sweet. I was invited into homes and villages and felt safe in the early days. The first two or three months didn’t feel like a war."

Welcome Home - Lois Shirley, 3rd Field Hospital

Welcome Home II -  Kathie Trew Swazuk, 93rd Evac

"And I couldn't get hold of the surgeon when I needed him, a night when there were all kinds of mass casualties coming in. I felt that I had to do something to stop the bleeding and I literally opened the wound up and clamped off the bleeder myself.... I did what had to be done. We were doing things that we would never do in the States, that would've never fallen into the hands of a nurse, and had responsibilities that we never, never encountered.... I have to keep remembering how young I was, right out of nursing school. I was 21 years old."

The Forgotten Veterans: 60 Minutes II interviews Diane Evans 71st Evac, Jackie Rhoads 18th Surg, and Patty Langford

"Because nurses were not officially in combat, few people believed they could suffer the aftereffects of war, like nightmares and flashbacks. Jackie Rhoads was one of these skeptics: "I remember thinking, 'Oh, I don't think they really exist.'"

Army Nurse Brings Experience to Hill - Jane Hudak, 95th Evac

"It was very satisfying being there. It was very professionally rewarding. You were there taking care of the troops. I was in a medical unit. I saw a lot of the malaria, heart attacks, infection and fevers of unknown origins  . . ."

Honoring the Dead and the Living - Lily Adams

"And the recruiter did promise that Adams wouldn't be sent to Vietnam--that was voluntary service.  But the orders came."

The Angels of Vietnam - Pat Hildebrand and Bobbie Grace, USS Repose

"For the next year, Hildebrand and Grace hardly left the 550-foot ship. They lived in a three-bunk metal room with another nurse, and spent their days and nights tending to the sick and wounded and dying, helping to amputate limbs, administering antibiotics and morphine, getting the fluids started fast through the IV."

Attitudes - Fran McDaniel

"Upon her return to the states, Fran McDaniel continued to block Vietnam. "It was like I'd never been there...like it was someone else."

Pair doctored to soldiers, civilians, too - Deanna DiBartolomeo, 29th Evac

"When we first went, there was no perimeter, no fences," she said. "The medics had to walk guard. You'd see the tracers shooting through the dark."

Articles & Misc.

Coming Home, a song by singer Cathy Fink, © Leading Role Music, ASCAP
Inspired by the book, "Home Before Morning" by Linda VanDevanter
On the CD, "Doggone My Time", available from Amazon or www.cathymarcy.com
Cathy Finks is available for events, contact her through her website.

"Folks feel sorry for the men, the women were ignored
seems they didn't realize women also went to war
And the only way to heal myself of all the pain and horror
Is to tell the soldiers of today, we need your peace tomorrow"
[lyrics]

Academic Papers & Reports

Slides with narration

"During a nurse’s year long tour of duty, she would be called upon to perform functions beyond what she had learned in nursing school, working on war wounds foreign to peacetime  training, with urgent heavy patient loads.  Various estimates agree that standard nursing schedules were twelve-hour workdays, six days a week.  Shifts would be longer and more intense as specific battles returned casualties from the field, and days off cancelled as patient loads grew heavier. 'Time took on a different meaning.  One nurse said she felt she was caught up…in a craziness she could not control.'" (Requires free PDF plug-in to view.)

A Day in the Life of Susan Snodderly - 24th Evac from The Pacific Stars and Stripes

Stopping at each bed, she checks the soldier's "Neuro Vital Sign Sheet," and then cheerfully tells them good morning.  All her patients - 'her patients,' she calls them - have head or back injuries.  Two, just out of surgery, are still in a semi-comatose state.  One 19-year-old soldier is suffering from "expressive aphasia" - he can comprehend words spoken to him, but he cannot express himself.  Susan always spends a few extra minutes with him.

Diane Lindsey received the Soldier's Medal 

"Army Nurse Diane M. Lindsay went to Vietnam in April 1969 and was assigned to the 95th Evacuation Hospital where her heroic actions earned her the Soldier's Medal for heroism. She convinced a confused soldier to hand over a grenade. (He had already pulled the pin.) Lindsay had help from a male officer in physically restraining the "berserk" soldier. Lindsay was the first black nurse to receive the award, and was promoted to Captain."

Volunteering For Risk: Black Military Women Overseas during the Wars in Korea and Vietnam - Dr. Judith Bellafaire, Curator WIMSA

"Many of the individual stories above come directly from the Register of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation."

Inside the Death Factory by Christine L. Kane for the Boston Review - Lynda Van Devanter & an Anonymous Nurse

'One of her come-backs embodies anger and anguish, tough-minded pride and brooding guilt and black, black humor. "When I first came back from Nam people would always ask me if I killed any babies. I was really stunned and hurt, but I finally found an answer that stopped them cold I'd tell them, 'I never killed a baby that I really liked.'"'

A Day In The Life of a Vietnam Nurse - Sue, 24th Evac

"One 19-year-old soldier is suffering from "expressive aphasia" - “he can comprehend words spoken to him, but he cannot express himself.” Susan always spends a few extra minutes with him. When she asks him questions, he answers 'yes' with a weak smile and his face remains passive for 'no'. He says 'thank you' by reaching up and patting her arm gently."

Back in the World War Wounds Surfacing for Many Nurses

"You were really tired all the time, and things were tense all the time. You worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. You were doing nursing you never dreamed you'd be doing, that you'd never been trained to do."

Australian Nurses' Home Page Australia and New Zealand were our allies during the war. 

"Don't ask me to talk about the war and smile at the camera at the same time .   .  ."

The Australian Involvement in Vietnam (Nurses)

Despite the unveiling of the National Service Nurses Memorial in Anzac Drive, Canberra, much of Australian society is unaware that Australian women served in Vietnam. 

Viet Cong Get Good Surprise - Pacific Stars and Stripes 25 August, 1967

"Much to their surprise, Viet Cong prisoners are receiving first-class medical care here at the U.S. Army's sprawling 85th Evacuation Hospital. "

Marge Wheeler, Composer

      3rd Field Hospital, Saigon, from April 1968 - April 1969

A Perfect Little Number (page down) - Cathie Henderson, 24th Evac, 1967

"When a severely wounded soldier learned that she would be coming back to the states soon, he asked her to call his mom when she got home. Cathie kept her promise and one of the first things she did was call his mother. She was stunned when the mother sobbed hysterically. The mother had received a telegram only days before informing her that her son was mortally wounded."

Vietnam Women's Memorial Dedicated

Sharon Lane ~In Memoriam, On the Wall at 23W 112

During the early morning hours of June 8, 1969, a Soviet-built 122-mm rocket slammed into ward 4 of the 312th Evacuation Hospital in Chu Lai, Vietnam.  24 year old Lt. Sharon A. Lane died instantly. Pictures of Sharon Lane and an account of her short life and career.  

Reseeding the Fields of War - Sarah Lee Blum, 12th Evac

Women in the Military-  Diane Kiser, 24th Evac (page 15, Requires free PDF plug-in to view.)

"Being in Vietnam was like being in another world.  You couldn't believe that it was real, that you weren't just on another planet."

Medical legacies of Vietnam Live On - Lynda Van Devanter

"Besides battling her memories, [she] is now fighting a degenerative disease that is attacking her joints and organs. Her doctors say the cause of her illness is exposure during the war to a combination of chemical agents and pesticides used to clear trees and identify targets."

Personal Responsibility in Traumatic Stress Reactions

Though highly regarded by her peers, she feels ashamed and inadequate about her performance as a nurse in Vietnam. Afraid to look into the future, she refused to look at the past, feeling that if she did, she would start crying and never stop.

Vietnam Nurses: These Are the Women Who Went to War

"I've never seen so many wounded in my life. It reminded me of that scene in 'Gone with the Wind' where all the wounded are lined up for miles around the railroad station," says Shellabarger.  "And the rumors were so bad - that Saigon had fallen, things like that... Not knowing the truth was the worst."

Night Rounds -Visiting the Wall with an Army nurse - by Marilyn Knapp Litt

"The Wall was higher than I had imagined, and longer, and infinitely more terrible."

For These Women, The Battle Continues

"Out of the more than 500 military women who have reported coming in contact with Agent Orange, 85 to 90 percent were nurses."

KSU RN's Historical Nursing Website (page down for Vietnam)

"For many nurse veterans, their assignment to Vietnam was, in essence, their first "real job." The average American military nurse on duty in Vietnam was just 23 years old and fresh out of a three-year diploma nursing school."

Pain and Pride - Susan Leigh, ANC, Anne Payne, ANC

"Leigh quickly found out that by joining up for two years, she would have the rest of her schooling paid for, as well as free medical and dental care. "I had led a sheltered life and thought this would be a good chance to travel," she said with a chuckle. certainly didn't sign up to go to Vietnam.""

Back in the World War Wounds Surfacing for Many Nurses - Martha Mooney Colvin, ANC, 24th Evac, 1970

"You don't expect old stuff to reassert itself again when you're my age, 53. It hits you out of the clear blue.

"But then, why not? PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation," Colvin says.

"I have come to realize that PTSD is not a weakness, but a wounded spirit. Each time I tell about what we went through, it helps to heal a little bit more.

"If someone listens with a listening heart."

American Women and the Vietnam War - by Catherine M. Jones

"Each branch of the armed services had different lengths and types of formal Stateside preparation. While those in the Army chose an assignment on their arrival in Vietnam, Navy and Air Force nurses knew their assignments before leaving the States. But most nurse veterans said that regardless of their Stateside training, nothing could have prepared them for Vietnam."

Advancing the Profession - Jaclyn Tropp

"Twelve hours on, 12 hours off. No days off for six months. Sound impossible? Such were the conditions at the outset of Jaclyn Tropp's tour of duty in Vietnam, where she gained unparalleled experience with IVs and 'a feeling of confidence that I could do almost anything.'"

A Soldier Meets his Nurses - Donna Johnson & Sukie

Love in a Combat Zone - Capt. Patricia Mann, 2nd Surg

"The bride wore white and the helicopter had "just married" painted on its nose. Green and yellow clouds from smoke grenades heralded the couple's passage and those on the ground cheered. It was the first marriage between Americans at this forward combat base, and all agreed it could not have happened to better people."

The Girl Next Door (Combat Nurse) - Country Joe sings you a song!

Urban Legends - When you know you have finally made an imprint on the American cultural consciousness.  Take these as the compliments they are intended to be and enjoy!

GI Jo(e) did offer a Vietnam nurse.  You can still find it on E-Bay -  Thanks Hasbro for recognizing the contribution of women.  Thank you also for not putting her in that baseball cap!

FROM THE BOX
"Among the American heroes serving in Vietnam were soldiers whose mission it was not to fight, but instead to comfort and heal. The number of military nurses serving in Vietnam rose steadily after 1966 to a peak of 900 in 1969. They served as flight nurses, in hospitals throughout Vietnam, and on board the hospital ships USS Repose and Sanctuary."

Selected Bibliography



Was it this good for you?
~
(Captioned suggested by an InCountry Nurse)

Hovis, Bobbi
Station Hospital Saigon : A Navy Nurse in Vietnam, 1963-1964
[excerpt]

Published May 1992. A competently written, understated, detailed account by a nurse assigned to the first military hospital in Vietnam.

Norman, Elizabeth
Women at War : The Story of Fifty Military Nurses Who Served in Vietnam

A bit dry, but well worth reading, especially as there are so few books on women in Vietnam. 1990  

Palmer, Laura
1993. "How to Bandage a War: The Nurses of Vietnam Still Wounded." 

_New York Times Magazine_ November 7: 36-43, 68, 72-73.

Smith, Winnie
American Daughter Gone to War: On the Front Lines With an Army Nurse in Vietnam

One of a handful of books by a women who were nurses in Vietnam. Written from the perspective of a decade later, it is a hard book to put down. This is one you need to read.    

Van Devanter, Lynda
Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam - Reissued with a new preface by the author

A nurse's story. This is the book that made people realize there are women veterans too and they saw very rugged service. If you are trying to understand the war, this book needs to be on your list. Like so many memoirs of the war, the trip home is in the middle of the book, not on the last page. 

White, Ellen Emerson
The Road Home

March 1995. This is a wonderful novel about an Army nurse who served during Tet and her return home. I think the author has done her research and it is extremely realistic reading.  It "fits" with what I have heard from women who were there.

Here is a complete bibliography . . .


Visit the Medical Units for photos, in depth information and Reunion info.

On their return to the States, nurses, like all who had been at war, had to integrate back into society and part of this was looking for a place to work. There weren't websites then looking for physician assistant staffing Dallas or Seattle. They just had to find their own thing.  

I am looking for photos of the hospitals, service clubs, and Red Cross recreation centers to link to, or put up on the website. Here is the sort of thing I want.  Please if you can assist or if you have a website or photos I can link to. Also I need photos of formal and informal patches.

Miscellaneous Photos etc.

Saigon, South Vietnam....Lieutenant Frances Crumpton and Miss Nangnoi Tongkim, a Thai nurse, talk with an American soldier wounded in the Vietnam war. The nurses work in the Navy hospital in Saigon. Cam Ranh Bay. . .President Lyndon B. Johnson in Vietnam: Decorating soldier Phillip Allum in a hospital on Dec. 23, 1967.  Note it is Christmas on the ward.
USS Repose... Lieutenant Commander Dorothy Ryan checks the medical chart of Marine Corporal Roy Hadaway of Calera, Alabama aboard the hospital ship USS repose off South Vietnam. Miss Ryan, from Bronx, New York is one of 29 nurses aboard the hospital ship selected from 500 volunteers of the Navy Nurse Corps.

South China Sea....A nurse tends a patient just out of surgery in the intensive care ward of the hospital ship USS Repose (AH-16). The ship is steaming off the coast of Vietnam a few miles south of the 17th parallel.

Da Nang, South Vietnam...United States Navy nurse Lieutenant Commander Joan Brouilette checks the condition of Pfc. Charles Smith as she makes her daily rounds of the intensive care ward at the United States Naval Support Activity Hospital.
Bio for Liz Allen . . .From 1967 to 1968, she served first with the 12th Evacuation Hospital at Cu Chi, followed by an assignment to the 71st Evacuation Hospital at Pleiku. Dr. Allen was on station during the Tet Offensive and was at Pleiku when the hospital was hit.  
Incountry Women (ICW) ICW: an email discussion group for many women who served in Vietnam. Coffee Cup

Here are two discussion groups for nurses only: International Vietnam Nurses Association and
VietNam Nurses Haven

Divider

Do you know someone in the service?

See www.BlueStarServiceFlags.com

My Vietnam Related Websites:
Women in Vietnam ~ Read about ALL the women who served . . .
The Irish on the Wall ~ An effort to locate the Irish who died in Vietnam
Tim O'Brien's Home Page ~ National Book Award Winner and Americal Vet
Emily's Poetry ~ By a Red Cross Donut Dolly
All About Vietnam    ~ An annotated bibliography of books about Vietnam for sale thru Amazon Worldwide!
Photos from a Holts' Military History Tour ~ My trip to Vietnam, February 1998

My Other Websites:
Maybe Later . . . ~ My Creative Nonfiction
Irish in Korea ~ Irish men and women who gave their lives in the Korean War
Literature of the Korean War ~ Don't let the literature be forgotten
Samuel Pepys ~ One of my favorite authors
Chicago Theatre Z - A ~ This is the best theater town in the country!
Soccer Literature ~ I'm a fan and I read
O'Leary Lantern ~ Fire! Fire! Fire!
Gil Thorp ~ THE Coach (apologies to The General!)
Poetry of the First World War ~ Owen, Hardy and others
Chi-COW-go ~ Cowz plus Commentary (this used to be a cow town)
Graham Fulton, Scottish Poet ~ Charles Manson Auditions for the Monkees
The Truth About Caroline ~ a  really goodYoung Adult book by my niece, Stacey M. Lane Grosh
 

illyria.gif (1225 bytes)



Page last updated July 18, 2007 February 18, 2012

Design by www.SimpleWebsiteDesign.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BACK

Coming Home

by Cathy Fink
© Leading Role Music, ASCAP

I'm 35 years old now and I wish I could have known
At twenty there's no glory in saving Viet Nam
If you're looking to save mankind, you can do it here at home
If it's democracy you live for, you don't need a foreign throne

For what these hands have been through and what these eyes have seen
I wish upon no others to go where I have been
Don't give up your youth and future for some beaurocrat's command
For you'll never lose the memories of the horrors of that land

At five I was a happy girl playing in the sand
the doctor nurse game was a favorite with my many friends
We'd make believe that one was sick the other qualified
To heal the aching party with our plastic tools and pride

Fifteen years later, there I was with honors as a nurse
Never once imagined I would see it as a curse
I signed my army papers to please my mom and dad
And to sign my independence as an adult in this world

refrain

The flight to Nam was endless, thought we never would arrive
We were greeted with a party, drinks and jokes and all the like
But the sirens went and 20 hours later we were spent
With three more boys to work on, it was hellish at it's best

And it was body after body we rebuilt and saved and healed
Arms and legs were piled up behind the OR field
And some boys didn't make it, others begged to die
In each I saw my brother, but there was no time to cry

refrain

finally the day did come when I could fly back home
I expected all the treatment that a hero would have known
But it was protest marches, pickets, anti-war had taken hold
And a woman veteran of the war faced shame and worthless cold

Folks feel sorry for the men, the women were ignored
seems they didn't realize women also went to war
And the only way to heal myself of all the pain and horror
Is to tell the soldiers of today, we need your peace tomorrow

refrain