Today we celebrate America's Independence Day and consider the war that split Americans between the beliefs of the North and the traditions of the South. Recently, I saw an article that gave women credit for fighting -disguised as men- during the Civil War, "because only men were allowed to enlist in the armies of the war."
To learn that women fought disguised as men during the Civil War kind of surprised me, until I considered the fact that women have been fighting in wars for centuries in other countries. I further researched the idea of women posing as men while enlisted in the military and learned of another woman: Margaret Bulkley.
An Irish woman raised in Cork, Margaret was a bright young child who dreamed of becoming a doctor. But no women were allowed to enter the university at that time. In 1809, at the young age of 14, Margaret was taken to Edinburgh by sea, dressed as a boy, and under the fictitious name of James Barry. Dr. James Barry received his Medical Degree in 1812, and after passing the Royal College of Surgeons exam, he enlisted as a surgeon in the British Army. After serving in Europe, India, South Africa and Canada, he was promoted through the ranks of the British Army. It wasn't until July 25, 1865, at the age of 70, Dr. James Barry died and during the final preparations for burial of his body, Margaret's true identity was discovered.
(read the whole story here: https://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/features/the-anatomy-of-a-lie--the-irish-woman-who-lived-as-a-man-to-practice-medicine-277445.html)
If you are a Woman Warrior fighting in wars past and present, I tip my hat and raise my glass to you. To all women who fight on the front lines of law enforcement, firefighters, first responders, and to our honorable service members, THANK YOU for your willingness to put yourself in harms way for the sake of others back home. Thank you to the trailblazers of the past, and the pioneer women of today. God Bless you!