Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

The Only Woman who is a Medal of Honor Recipient

Spy, Surgeon, Prisoner of War, non-Conformist and suffragist (women's right to vote), this is a woman who broke every glass ceiling and she did it in the 1800s. Born on a farm and comfortable wearing pants, she scrambled the minds of her contemporaries by keeping this trend her whole life. Once arrested for wearing pants, she refused to wear a dress especially when she was in surgery during the Civil War. Wanting to join the Union army as a surgeon, she was refused and had to do volunteer work as one. Eventually she was given full time work as an army surgeon but would often cross enemy lines to treat civilians. On one such trip she was captured by the Confederates and thrown into prison as a spy. She developed a disability from her imprisonment that crippled her for life.

Although later given a Medal of Honor for her bravery by General Sherman and for her work during the war as the first female surgeon, it was stripped from her in 1917 and later reinstated in 1977 by President Carter, posthumously.

It takes Valor to become the first to do something and maintain your dignity and honor regardless of the cost.


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