'Writing women back into history'

  • Published
  • By Lesley Turgeon
  • wife of Tech. Sgt. Michael Turgeon
Someone once coined the phrase, "Behind every great man is a great woman."

Perhaps it's more accurate to say, "Beside every great man is a great woman."

As we embark on the 30th anniversary since President Carter proclaimed March as the first National Women's History Week, we have much to celebrate. Where women once aspired to achieve their dreams, they are now recognized for their accomplishments.

Beside every great man is a great woman.

This phrase resonates within our everyday military lives. As spouses, we are recognized for our sacrifices through difficult and uncertain deployments. We unite with one another and become leaders amongst our own ranks. We support and encourage our troops, as we do each other. We form a home defense.

Beside every great man is a great woman.

We proudly wear the same uniform. We are enlisted members and four-star generals. We defend our country -- at times with our lives. Some of us are astronauts, bomber pilots, doctors or security forces. All of us are heroes. All of us sacrifice. All of us contribute to the mission.

The theme for the 2010 National Women's History Project is "Writing Women Back into History." Because of the efforts of this organization, Congress has enacted the month of March as Women's History Month. Their goal is to encourage public recognition of women's contributions by written inclusion to our history books. In addition to historical citation, the organization promotes the augmentation of textbooks authored by women for use in an educational setting -- thereby creating female role models.

The military has in many ways effectively incorporated this stance into their overall mission. Spouses have officially recognized positions within the organization as key spouses appointed by unit commanders. Servicewomen occupy the ranks as airmen leadership school, officer and noncommissioned officer academy instructors. Women also assume leadership roles as presidential cabinet members. Even our Air Force Thunderbirds has a female pilot -- No. 10, Capt. Petrina Hanson, who inspires women everywhere that anything is possible!

Beside every great man is a great woman.


This commentary was the winning essay selected by the Ellsworth Women's History month committee.