World War II from a woman's perspective - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

World War II from a woman's perspective


By Jamie Hersch - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- So often when we think of World War II veterans, there is one group who is often forgotten: the women.

On October 2, 2010, 101 WWII vets flew to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built just for them as part of the Badger Honor Flight. Two of those veterans were women, including Inez McMillan, an 89-year-old vet from Beaver Dam.

"It was a great adventure. The boys were just so scared... they were worse than me!," said Inez.

More than 65 years later, Inez loves to recall her days as an Army nurse. This small-town Wisconsin girl served two years in England and France.

"I was 23 and most of these kids we had for patients were 18 or 19 years old and I think I was more a mother to them than a nurse," said Inez.

On October 2, Inez headed off to a new adventure: the Badger Honor Flight.

"I'm a little nervous. I just want to get there and see it because everyone tells me it's just awesome. And I want to get back and go like this (thumbs up)!" said Inez.

From the WWII Memorial to Iwo Jima to Arlington National Cemetery, this was definitely a day worth those two thumbs up.

But just before heading home, there was time for one more stop, a stop meant especially for the ladies.

"I love it. I'm so happy that we got to see it! I didn't think we'd get to see it," said Inez.

At last, this 89-year-old hero is getting the recognition she and her sisters in uniform deserve. And with a stroke of a pen, this female vet signed the women veterans' guest book to become a part of her own memorial.

"You feel so honored to have these people treat you like you were something special. Of course, we never thought we were special. It was something we wanted to do and we did!" said Inez.

It's a generation of humility. They're not used to all the attention, or the kind of homecoming that awaited them at the Dane County Regional Airport. More than 2,500 family and friends were waiting to give them a hero's welcome.

"It was just absolutely amazing. Everybody wanted to shake your hand, everybody wanted to kiss you, everybody wanted to hug you... and you just feel like 'Oh my gosh, I'm special!'" said Inez.

Special, indeed.

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