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Lincoln veterans parade recognizes servicewomen

<i>Lincoln Journal Star</i><br/>People lined K Street on Sunday bundled head to toe as a cold wind blew during the fourth annual Lincoln Veterans Parade.
Lincoln Journal Star
People lined K Street on Sunday bundled head to toe as a cold wind blew during the fourth annual Lincoln Veterans Parade.


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    LINCOLN, Nebraska (Lincoln Journal Star) — People lined K Street on Sunday bundled head to toe as a cold wind blew during the fourth annual Lincoln Veterans Parade.

The wind also brought change this year as the procession to the Capitol honored women who are veterans.

For Michelle Greenwood, that change is long overdue.

“It’s about time,” said Greenwood, an Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm. “Since I got in — in 1983 — I can tell you being a woman veteran back then was difficult.”

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She said she would sometimes be told she wasn’t even a real veteran.

But on Sunday, Greenwood was aboard a float filled with women, all of them veterans.

Next to her sat sisters Laura Campbell and Kyann Sheets. Campbell served in Afghanistan in 2011, and Sheets is still an active-duty member of the Army National Guard, who has served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“I’m thankful that it’s happening,” Sheets said. “When you’re in your unit, you’re definitely the minority as a female. Right now we’re not the minority.”

In recognition of women in the service, Sunday’s parade included an all-female Offutt Honor Guard, retired Nebraska National Guard Brig. Gen. Roma Amundson as grand marshal and U.S. Air Force veteran Teri Clark as a guest speaker.

Amundson became the first woman in the Nebraska National Guard to be promoted to brigadier general in 2009, and retired in 2011 after 33 years of service.

Amundson stood on a small stage in front of the steps of the Capitol and told the stories of women that served in every war since the U.S. Revolution.

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She told the story of Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man to enlist in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army. She then spoke about the increasing role of women in the U.S. military through every major conflict, all the way from the Civil War to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chief Master Sgt. Clark retired from the Nebraska Air National Guard in 2012, and is a 13-year breast cancer survivor.

She spoke directly to female veterans, assuring them that their sacrifices won’t go unnoticed.

“Our service counts,” she said. “Female veterans are always saying ‘Hey, I served too!'”

Clark thanked veterans of every branch of the military, and listed female members of the Nebraska National Guard that died in Iraq.

“To the women veterans: You rock, you are elite.”

Local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, several VFW lodges and high school marching bands took part in the parade.

A 20-foot inflatable bald eagle served sentry over the parade and had to be carefully guided under the traffic lights as children chased down candy thrown by veterans.

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