Recently I had a fun brunch with my childhood pals Cathy and Jill.
Cathy's daughter is a rising senior at West Point, and mom shared her excitement that her youngest had hung in there, through tough training, and was moving closer to finishing. After she graduates Kelsie will spend five years active duty in the service.
Cathy and her husband Dale could not be more proud. Sure, she confided, there's some fear. "But it's the right fit for her," Cathy shared, noting how her heart swells at the thought of her youngest serving our nation. She also praised how much growth her has daughter has seen by stepping out of her comfort zone to try something challenging — and inspiring.
As our nation celebrates its July 4th birthday, such patriotism is real for military families, several of whom are Be Brilliant Bag customers. We salute their brilliant contributions to keeping our nation free. We cannot thank them all enough.
Thus far, our nation counts more than 2,035,213 U.S. female veterans, according to statistics from the Veteran's Administration, with Texas, California, Florida, Virginia and Georgia, leading the pack.
Among them are Jerri, a Maryland resident and esteemed Be Brilliant supporter, who served in the Navy for 20 years before retiring in 2008. Where did her career take her? All over the world, with posts in the Azore Islands, aboard the USS Mount Whitney and HMS Sheffield, as well as work as an attache' at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. What an amazing life she has led, raising two sons in the mix.
But just because she has moved on from active duty, Jerri's service continues. She lends her talents now as managing editor for O-Dark-Thirty, the literary journal of the Veterans Writing Project. She's also a writer of fiction and non-fiction.
Next year, she and her U.S. Marine co-author Tracy will publish a book honoring women in the military titled "My Country Too: True Stories of Women Under Fire from the American Revolution to Afghanistan." It marks a worthy telling of women's roles on the battlefield and we can't wait to read it.
What stories — and talents — do you have that help to honor and embolden other women? We hope you'll step up and out of your comfort zones like Jerri and Kelsie to share them.
And on this 4th of July, as we remember our nation's independence, we also hope you will remember to honor those brave people who have paved our path not only to independence — but to keeping us all free.
"She needed a hero and that's what she become," notes one quote about our female vets.
That kind of independence is certainly worth celebrating, too.