On Jan. 23, news agencies around the country ran breaking news stories about an announcement that Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta was expected to make Jan. 24 regarding women’s roles in combat.
The announcement was that a 1994 ban that restricted women from participation in combat units would be lifted, opening thousands of new jobs for women.
Women are playing more prominent roles in the military, and the military is becoming ever more enriched by the selfless service its members provide.
Not only in the military are women climbing the ladder of prominence and importance, they are also climbing it in the corporate and political world and almost every other facet of society.
For decades, women did not enjoy some of the same rights and privileges that were afforded men.
After centuries of being treated inferior in many ways, they began to demand equality.
Equality and change did not come quickly, and it did not come easily for women.
Women wanted to prove that they could do anything men could do just as well, if not better, and that mentality has continued to grow.
Women are now dominating many aspects of society, including the college arena.
According to an article in the New York Times, men comprise only 42 percent of college students and women tend to excel in their academics more so than their male counterparts.
The contributions that women are making in society truly are great.
But in this vigorous attempt to secure equality, one of society’s most essential roles has begun to be neglected and underappreciated.
There is one area in which equality, no matter how hard one might try, can never be attained: the role of motherhood. Only woman are equal to the task of this role.
Though the father’s role is important in the bringing of children, mothers play an essential role.
Many great leaders who have led and protected our nation since its revolution would not have become the men that they were had it not been for their mothers.
George Washington once said of his mother, Mary Ball Washington, “My reverend mother by whose maternal hand, early deprived of a father, I was led to manhood.”
It was Washington’s mother that shaped him into the man that would lead the United States to its independence and become its first president.
Mary Washington was not on the front lines during the revolution, but the integrity and character that she built in her son George was.
It was this very integrity and character that rallied a nation and led it to ultimate victory and independence.
Abraham Lincoln was, after the death of his mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln, raised by his stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln.
When Sarah first met Lincoln and his sister, she compared them to savages.
Lincoln had very little formal education but was encouraged and sported by Sarah in his reading, writing and practice of public speaking.
Sarah was an essential influence in Lincoln’s life and helped to shape him into the leader that would take our divided states and unite them once more into the nation we all enjoy today.
Had it not been for the encouragement and sport of Sarah, our nation today might not be called the United States of America.
With Panetta’s recent announcement, women will have many more opportunities to contribute to society through military service.
Without a doubt, military service is honorable and an important contribution, but there are few, if any, contributions made to society — by men or women — that can be considered greater than motherhood.
The ripples of a mother’s influence can be greater, reach further and bring more satisfaction than any other accomplishments in life.
The role of motherhood for centuries has been instrumental in shaping the world we live in today. It is imperative that women realize this, for they will shape the future of our nation.