Homage To Be Paid To Reporters Who Fought For The Right To Be Journalists

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A special honor will be bestowed upon a group of women this Memorial Day weekend.

They documented the battle on the front lines of World War II, while at the same time fighting for the right to cover the historic conflict, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Friday.

It will be a special holiday weekend at the American Air Power Museum. In the midst of vintage aircraft and high-flying Blue Angels, history will be unveiled with the first-of-its-kind permanent exhibit honoring female World War II correspondents — who shattered the glass ceiling and paved the way for generations of female reporters around the globe.

“I feel very emotional because I was a part of this. This brings back memories,” said 87-year-old Lucille Dresner of Franklin Square.

Nancy Epstein’s father was a World War II correspondent. She said she is now learning of the brave women journalists who passed as stretcher bearers, cooks, or fashion writers, but were really posting eyewitness accounts from the front lines, and eventually concentration camps.

“I didn’t know about them. They worked hard. They could have worked alongside my father. But I didn’t know, because women weren’t credited then,” Epstein said.

One had been married to Ernest Hemingway; another held captive by the Japanese, McLogan reported.

Museum curator Julia Lauria Blum showed McLogan the field conditions and obstacles women faced. The military fought their presence, saying females were too weak to be posted at battle. All the women wanted was the right to cover the conflict.

“Fascinating women. They left behind such a legacy of imagery and words that captured the emotions, the feel, the sounds of the war,” Lauria Blum said.

McLogan’s mother was in the U.S. Naval WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in Washington, and finally got information of her husband’s mission fighting in Burma with Merrill’s Marauders from a dispatch written by one of the only women correspondents in the Pacific, and published by Life magazine.

When the war ended America was stunned to discover that 127 courageous women were accredited war correspondents and needed passage home to the states, McLogan reported.

As their legacies were being honored, sadly, none of the female war correspondents are believed to be alive today, McLogan reported.

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