Dedication IV

The Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was created in 1942 to provide support for World War II. The policy of the Army at the time was that ten percent of the soldiers would be African Americans. This was also applied to the WAC. While promised training as nurses and other positions, the African American WAC soldiers were assigned to low-end jobs.

Only one battalion of African American WAC soldiers saw duty in Europe during the war. The 6888th battalion was sent to England to deal with over a million pieces of mail that had never been delivered. On the ship to England, the women were harassed and ridiculed. The task before them was nearly impossible.

General Eisenhower was insistent that the mail be sorted and delivered because morale greatly depended upon letters from home. To complicate matters, many of the pieces of mail only contained first names of the soldiers. The WAC’s went out of their way to try to find the right soldier for each piece of mail.

They took pride in their efforts to lift the spirits of the soldiers in combat. These were the same soldiers who refused to serve with their African American brothers. They were the men who saw nothing wrong with the lack of educational opportunities for their African American children. But the 6888 WAC’s were determined to show their value.

When the war was over, there were no crowds waiting for them when their ship docked. They were not included in military parades. It’s as if they didn’t exist, and their determination to deliver the mail didn’t matter. They received no salutes to honor their service.

That has now changed. The 6888 battalion has been awarded a Congressional Gold Medal. Unfortunately, only six members of the battalion are still living. Some of the family members of the 6888 are just becoming aware of the service their mothers and grandmothers provided.

What is the source of such dedication? Is it the promise of being praised? That wasn’t the case with the 6888. Is it the expectation of appreciation from others? That wasn’t the case with the 6888. Dedication comes from an internal drive that motivates us to do our best no matter what. It’s a personal trait that contributes to greatness, even when it’s not recognized.

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“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi

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