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Remembering the forgotten: female veterans' service is often overlooked

June Ambrose’s home does not have the flags, certificates or photos that many veterans use to adorn their walls. There are almost no signs of her 23-year career in the Navy, from which she retired as a senior chief petty officer.

“The last 14 years, I have totally separated, segregated and divorced the military,” she said. Similarly, she avoided veterans groups and organizations, until they came looking for her.

In conjunction with Veterans Day and the arrival of the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall, Sonoma Veterans of Foreign War Post #1943 will honor women in the military during a special ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 11, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building, 126 First St. W. It is part of a five-day Cost of Freedom Tribute, from Nov. 7 to 11 that also includes a spotlight on Vietnam veterans, a mobile military museum and a ceremony to honor firefighters and law enforcement officers. (To see a full schedule, visit vfwpost1943.org).

Ambrose was invited to take part in the ceremony to honor the often overlooked female veterans, as one of the Valley’s decorated women in the military. It is an event she is looking forward to, even if it means dredging up the past.

“I’m not used to having to deal with all of these things from my career that I haven’t fully dealt with,” Ambrose said, admitting that she’s never spoken about her years of service with a civilian before.


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