The thoughts that come to mind when I think of the heart of a military
woman are not stories remembered, good times shared, or hardships
endured, but images, bits and pieces of broken memories of me, and other
military women I met throughout my nine years as a photo-journalist and
public affairs specialist in the California Army National Guard. Falling atop
those memories are the ever present emotions that come forth when I think
of my daughter, who was a U.S. Marine and my niece, a Captain in the
Army and Bronze Star recipient while serving in Iraq.
The heart of a military woman is like the heart of a lion—strong, fierce,
tenacious. She will slay an enemy in a heartbeat to protect her country—or
her young. She will defend what she believes is right until her last dying
breath. She is a tough and formidable opponent if you intend her harm.
Yet, her heart will soften and swell with pride as she looks at Old Glory, or
the men and women and children she serves and protects. Her allies, her
team, her fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are her brothers and
sisters; and, she will forever feel the bond they share—no matter how long
she served on active duty, and for as long as she lives.
She is also soft and tender. Her heart aches for home and her loved ones.
She will do what she says. Her word is an iron promise. She is amazing in
her ability to adapt, overcome adversity, do whatever it takes, and still dance
the night away if given a pair of heels, a dress, and music. She laughs deeper,
loves harder, and her heart knows no bounds. That is the heart of a military
woman. There is no creature on earth as tough, as tender, as warm, and giving,
as generous of spirit, or as protective as a military woman.
By Debra Ann Ristau, USARNG-California, 1985-1994
Published in Heart of a Military Woman:
Stories and Tributes to Those Who Serve Our Country,
by Sheryl Roush and Eldonna Lewis Fernandez.
All original and true short stories, poems, and tributes from military personnel, their families and loved ones.