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Serving In Silence
     

Serving In Silence

by Margarethe Cammermeyer
 

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VIETNAM VETERAN

RECIPIENT OF THE BRONZE STAR

MOTHER OF FOUR

VA NURSE OF THE YEAR

DISCHARGED

In 1989, during a routine interview for top-secret security clearance, U.S. Army Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer revealed that she was a lesbian–and began an ordeal that, despite her distinguished twenty-six-year military career, resulted in her

Overview

VIETNAM VETERAN

RECIPIENT OF THE BRONZE STAR

MOTHER OF FOUR

VA NURSE OF THE YEAR

DISCHARGED

In 1989, during a routine interview for top-secret security clearance, U.S. Army Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer revealed that she was a lesbian–and began an ordeal that, despite her distinguished twenty-six-year military career, resulted in her discharge from the U.S. Army. Her dismissal garnered intense media coverage, stirred debate all the way to the presidency, and ignited her activism that continues today. In this revealing autobiography, Cammermeyer writes of her decision to challenge the official policy on homosexuals in the military and of her victory in Federal District Court and beyond. But much more than a book about laws and politics, Serving in Silence is about coming of age, being a mother, and finding one’s center; about the daily horrors of nursing in Vietnam; about “coming out”; and about a brave soldier’s life.

THE BOOK THAT INSPIRED THE TELEVISION MOVIE, starring Glenn Close as Margarethe Cammermeyer.

This New Edition with added Epilogue includes events from 1994 to the present in 2016, including the life-changing results of ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell and legalized marriage for same-sex couples.

Throughout Col. Cammermeyer’s life, her achievements included completion of a BS in Nursing from the University of Maryland and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington, which honored her with the 2015 “Distinguished Alumni Veterans Award.” Col. Cammermeyer has received many other awards including, among others, The 2016 “Leonard Matlovich Award” from the American Veterans for Equal Rights; induction into the Washington State Nurses Hall of Fame in 2014; The “Legacy Award” from the Point Foundation in 2010; the “Women Who Dared” Award from the National Council of Jewish Women in In 1999; and the “Soldier of Freedom Award” from the Human Rights Campaign in 1993.

Though Dr. Cammermeyer’s twenty-six year career as an Army nurse was interrupted by her discharge, she continued to care for veterans at a VA hospital until her retirement. She lives on Whidbey Island, WA with her spouse Diane Divelbess and continues to speak out on civil rights issues.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780692773932
Publisher:
Margarethe Cammermeyer
Publication date:
09/09/2016
Pages:
408
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.91(d)

Meet the Author

"There are times when change can be made only by individuals stepping forth to expose themselves and their vulnerability so that others become aware that there are differences in the world and that these differences are okay. They don't affect our ability to be part of an organization or to make a contribution." - Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, Ret.
Born in Oslo, Norway in 1942 during the Nazi occupation, Cammermeyer lived across from Nazi headquarters. Her parents used her in their exploits as they supported the Norwegian underground in resisting the Nazis.
At 17, Cammermeyer started college at the University of Maryland. By 1960, she was old enough to become an American citizen, which was a time when she felt that she belonged. In 1961, she heard about the Army Student Nurse Program and joined the military.
She went on active duty after graduation in 1963. On a longer tour in Nuremberg, Germany, she met and married a fellow soldier. In 1967, she was sent to the 24th Evacuation Hospital at Long Binh, Vietnam for 14 months as head nurse of a medical unit and then eight months as head nurse of the neurosurgical intensive care unit.
After Vietnam, she and her husband settled in Seattle, Washington. She was forced to leave the military when she became pregnant in 1968 because women were not permitted to have dependents. By 1972 that regulation was changed and she returned to the military in the Army Reserves, ultimately achieving the rank of Colonel in 1987. During her military career, she continued to challenge policies that discriminated against married women and married women who became pregnant.
She and her husband divorced after 15 years and having four wonderful sons. There were problems that she didn't understand at the time but that turned out to be her own identity crisis as she came to understand that she was a lesbian.
In 1989, as Chief Nurse of the Washington State National Guard, she told the military, "I am a lesbian" during a top-security clearance interview. Consequently, she was separated from the military 11 June 1992, despite an exemplary military and civilian professional record. Her attorneys filed suit in Federal District Court in Seattle challenging the existing ban on homosexuals in the military. Eventually, the policy was judged unconstitutional and based on prejudice. She was reinstated in the National Guard in June of 1994, resuming her previous position as Chief Nurse. In March 1997, after 31 years of dedicated service to America, she retired with full military privileges.
In 1994, she published her book, Serving in Silence, named by the National Education Association as the "Outstanding Book on the subject of Human Rights in North America." In 1995, with Barbra Streisand as executive producer, her book was an NBC made-for-television movie "Serving in Silence"; Glenn Close portrayed Colonel Cammermeyer. The movie received three Emmy Awards and the prestigious Peabody Award.
Using the book and the movie as a platform on which to continue speaking out, Col. Cammermeyer lobbied against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" for the next 17 years until its repeal on December 22, 2010.
Cammermeyer's many awards and honors include the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service (Vietnam), Nurse of the Year by the Department of Veterans Affairs (1985), Woman of Power by the National Organization of Women, the Honorary Human Rights Award by the American Nurses Association, the Hannah Solomon Award by the Jewish Women's League, and the 1995 Distinguished Alumna from the University of Washington School of Nursing.
Dr. Cammnermeyer and Diane Divelbess, her partner since 1988, were married on the first day that same sex marriage was legal in Washington State. "Finally we are a legal family...We were the first in line in Island County to receive the license and then married in a wonderful setting at our home."

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