March 23rd, 2003

Bobbie Ann Howell

The best thing so far about blogging, besides getting to feel like I am moving a bit more into the world of technological connectivity, is hearing from people who have read the Nevada Humanities blog and felt a sense of the Nevada we are sharing. Thank you for reading; it is wonderful to hear from you.  

March is Women’s History Month and, since my last blog about the various places that intersect our lives, I have been thinking about the people who have also walked alongside me. Many of them have been women of strength and beauty – the kind of women who strike out and have made a difference in their world – worked, loved, and reached out to others.  As girls, there are many women from history who we learn about who spark our imagination, like Sarah Winnemucca, Sacagawea, and Pocahontas. But there are also the stories of women working often in isolation, women of dreams, as well as the ones not known by history but so vital to their communities.  Women like my mother, who has supported and nurtured her family and so many others that have come into her world – her co-workers, friends, our friends, and all those she adopts along the way. We all need such women in our lives. They care for us. Some are from within our families, and others we meet at work, church, school, on committees, or in all the pathways we cross and places we live. I have been lucky have been given a chance to learn from a number of wonderful women who are friends, colleagues, co-workers, fellow artists, and mentors.  As spring and the miracle of desert flowers begin to show all around us, I am thinking of each of you. Thank you.

Each March I take time to remember Lori Piestewa, who in March of 2003 was the first woman killed in combat at the beginning of the war in Iraq; this year marks ten years at war. I was thinking of her children, now teenagers, and hope they know we honor her sacrifice.  Her face is one I keep in my mind, to remember, to represent the men and women who serve and their families who gave them to us.  If you don’t know her story find out about her, and other women who are brave, strong, beautiful, and give us so much.

Pfc. Lori Piestewa, a Hopi Indian, was the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and the granddaughter of a World War I veteran. She was a source of pride for Tuba City, Ariz., a town of 8,200 people on the Navajo Reservation but close to Hopi land. Piestewa, 23, was with a convoy of the 507th Maintenance Company that was ambushed March 23. She was the first American servicewoman killed in the war in Iraq. Piestewa was a single mother raising a 4-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl.

Suggested Readings
Native Americans in the U.S. Army
Honoring Our Fallen Heroes and Their Families: 10th Annual Lori Piestewa Memorial
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Women's History Month
Smithsonian: Women's History & Heritage Month
Nevada Women's History Project