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    These Women Answered the Call in WWI. Should They Receive the Gold Medal?

    These Women Answered the Call in WWI. Should They Receive the Gold Medal?

    One hundred years ago, a huge crowd gathered in Armory Park in Passaic to hear U.S. Army General John J. Pershing praise the men who fought so bravely in World War I.

    Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces that defeated and its allies to end World War I, came to Passaic on Memorial Day to dedicate the 's war monument, the Cenotaph.

    “Men of Passaic…ever ready to bear arms in defense of the country, they have always endured the greatest sacrifices and have ever stood ready to render the full measure of their devotion,” Pershing told the crowd, as reported by the Passaic Daily News.

    Pershing understandably paid tribute to the men of Passaic, 74 of whom went to Europe in World War I and didn't return. But standing with Pershing on the dais that day in an Army uniform was a woman whose service would open doors for others but whose contribution is all but lost to history.

    Grace Banker was from Passaic, and she came home from the war with the Distinguished Service Medal, a helmet, and a gas mask, but unlike the boys, she had no discharge papers to qualify for veterans benefits. She went to the front lines and risked her life, just like the boys, but for 60 years following the war, the Department of Defense didn't see it that way.

    Banker was the chief of the first unit of civilian switchboard operators that the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent to the front lines in in 1918, as Pershing was…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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