SACRAMENTO — In an emotional ceremony Tuesday, speakers praised the "unsung heroines" of the Vietnam War, the combat nurses and other female veterans, during a ceremony recognizing the recent addition of the women's panel to the still-unfinished California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Sacramento's Capitol Park.
"In Vietnam, (the nurses) were not only responsible for saving lives," Assemblywoman Jackie Speier (D-South San Francisco) said, "they also substituted as mothers, as wives, as sisters and as friends to the soldiers wounded and left to their care."
At a reception under cloudy skies, Speier was joined by Vietnam veterans, memorial designer Rolf Kriken, sculptor Rodger Brodin and actress Nancy Giles, who plays the role of a Vietnam War nurse in the TV series, "China Beach." The newly placed panel of the memorial depicts a combat nurse, in recognition of women's contributions during the Vietnam War.
The women's panel was put in place Monday, and the memorial is scheduled to be completed by Veterans Day.
The panel depicts a female nurse standing next to a soldier on a stretcher, whose left arm is missing from just above the elbow and who, despite gauze covering his head and eyes, is lifting his head toward her. The nurse, with knit brow, is looking off to the side, while her left hand hovers over the soldier's chest and the right holds a stethoscope. However, on Tuesday, her hand held flowers instead, and a U.S. flag and dog tags had been left on the soldier's chest.