Seventy-two years ago, thousands of young women took up the cause during World War II to train as nurses to ensure the nation, and its citizens here and overseas, had good care.
On Thursday, Connecticut lawmakers asked Congress to recognize the Cadet Nurse Corps., as veterans.
"There were 133 of us in the admitting class. Most of them were cadet nurses,” said Elizabeth Yeznack, Class of 1943 St. Francis Hospital.
She recalls her first day enlisted at St. Francis Hospital’s Cadet Nurse Corp., on July 1, 1943.
By the time the program ended in 1946, she said 3,100 cadet nurses would graduate.
However, they were never really recognized by the state or nation as "veterans.”
"We were the first, youngest completely integrated program in the country,” Yeznack said.
State Senator Cathy Osten said she wants the nurse corps. members to be recognized for their service to the nation as veterans.
She's offered a resolution in the State Senate under the Veterans Affairs Committee.
"I’m one of the only female veterans here in the legislature and I think it’s very important for women to be recognized for service they have committed for our country,” Osten said.
Nurse Yeznack has testified for the nurse corp. to be recognized "because we served so long and so well. When you need so many nurses, the health system in the country was desperate."
Elizabeth Brennan, 90 of Ledyard, also trained with the Cadet Nurse Corps. and made it a career. She says it’s about time.
“I think it’s wonderful because I even took care of those in the first World War, when I was in nursing school. It was so sad. Most of them were alcoholics,” Brennan said.
She trained at St. Lukes in New Bedford, Mass. She helped her mother with her 10 brothers and sisters.
"I didn't think it was anything special. How could you when you're second of a big family,” Brennan said.
The Special Resolution #25 to recognize nurse Brennan and other cadet corps. nurses was approved by the state Veterans Affairs Committee and now heads to the senate for their vote.
Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.