The sometimes overlooked women of the military received their due on Saturday as they were singled out to be honored during the Veterans Day parade and memorial service.

The women, some in full uniform, proudly walked and rode down West Main Street in Palestine as hundreds of people lined the streets to show their appreciation and support for the veterans.

Among the women veterans in the parade was Lucille Johnson an Army veteran who served during the Vietnam era.

Johnson served her country proudly for 12 years until she received a honorable medical discharge on Feb. 13, 1986.

“I joined the army on a $1 bet,” Johnson said. “I was told by a close male friend that I would not be able to make it through basic training and I knew that I could, so I did.”

Johnson added when she was able to return home for her first leave she promptly collected on the bet.

“I can’t stand being told I can’t do something when I know I can,” she explained. “I am the type of person that will make no into yes.”

Johnson’s career brought her to many different places in many different countries, but her most memorable stop was in Germany.

“I loved Germany, and really enjoyed myself there,” she said. “It was in Germany that I met my father for the first time.”

During the time when Johnson enlisted, she was considered part of the Women’s Army Corps or WAC for short.

“I am a WAC and I am very proud of that,” she said.

Johnson was a logistics specialist working in supply.

“I made sure the company had everything they needed,” she said.

Some of the materials that she was responsible for was the ammunition for the tanks, and the guns on them.

“I remember they brought in one of the barrels for the gun on the tank, and it took 12 men to carry it in,” Johnson said.

“I kept the supply books for a hybrid company and ordered and kept track of supplies for three different companies and the battalions in them,” she said. “ I scored satisfactory on all my inspections.”

Johnson’s skills were highly thought of and a general reassigned her to “go to a company and straighten out their supply system.”

The commander at the arsenal wanted her to stay so bad when she came up for reassignment he was willing to offer her anything she wanted to make her stay, but Johnson had her sights set on returning to Germany to spend some time with her father.

For the most part Johnson’s experiences in the Army were pleasant, but she often had to work to become part of the group.

“Sometimes the men would put flowers around my chair because they though they had to show me special treatment,” she explained. “Everything was built for men, the barracks, uniforms, and facilities and many resented the changes which had to be made to accommodate the women.”

But Johnson persevered through all the road blocks which were placed in front of her.

Johnson is the daughter of Frankie May Arthur, formally of Tucker.

During her time in the service she received the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Metal, Overseas Service Ribbon, and Army Service Ribbon.

After her discharge, she received a BBA from McKendree College in Illinois, received her certification as an Income tax preparation specialist, and worked for the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1993.

The parade ended at the Veterans’ Memorial Park for a Memorial service honoring all the veterans in Anderson County who have died.

The list of 276 names were read allowed to the reverent crowd gathered to remember their service and sacrifice.

Jerry Hanson gave a memorable address that made one pause and reflect on the current treatment of veterans’ services and limited access to medical care due to hospital and clinic closings.

“War is dangerous, debilitating, an deadly,” Hanson said. “War should never be entered into lightly. We look forward to a time when war time will be no more. But that may be just wishful thinking.”

Hanson stressed the need for diplomacy first and war if all else fails.

“As we pause to remember we want to give a special and much deserved tribute to the women who served their country,” Hanson said. “From the medical angels of mercy who treated the wounded, to the USO volunteers which provided comfort and entertainment, to those who served in support roles and combat, and all the defense plant workers and ‘Rosy the Riveter’ who made the planes and any other women who served, struggled, fought and died — thank you.”

Hanson said every veteran served this country well to remove tyrants and to make the world a better place.

“We honor, salute and applaud you,” Hanson said, “You are our heroes, thank you veterans, thank you veterans.”

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