WWII US Medal of Freedom Recipient: The White Mouse, Nancy Wake (1912 - 2011)
Who Is The White Mouse?
On August 9 2011, the Maori Party of New Zealand paid special honor to one of their native daughters, Nancy Wake, aka The White Mouse. Ms. Wake is a hero of World War II that most people in the world did not know until 2009.
As our WWII veterans die by the thousands each month, we are beginning to realize the importance of their contributions in wartime and the courage of their military service. Non-military support personnel were just as heroic in their everyday tasks. We hsave lost the majority of them without understanding all of their individual stories and accomplishments.
A good starting point for understanding WWII Veterans, their families, and non-military support operations is the book The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw and the follow-up volume The Greatest Generation Speaks: Letters and Reflections. Both volumes describe Americans at home and in the Pacific and European Theaters. Books have no doubt collected stories of WWII era citizens from the UK, Australia, Canada, and other countries.
Historical fiction and home soil tragedy have also emerged from WWII. One example is James Doohan's (Montgomery Scott of Star Trek®) Flight Engineer science fiction novel series. In its characters and stories, he included aspects and events from his own RAF service in WWII. George Takei (Hikaru Sulu) from the same television and film series was held in a Japanese-American internment camp, as was Pat Morita (The Karate Kid). Mr. Takei's experiences are detailed in his autobiography.
Many nations made up the Allies of WWII, including the UK, France, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, India, China, the Philippines, Canada, USA, Mexico, Cuba, the Soviet Union, and some others. Yet, perhaps some individuals think that the participants were only USA, France, and Britain against Germany, Japan, and Italy.
Tribute to New Zealand Patriots
Ms. Wake is a hero of World War II that most people in the world did not know until 2009, when she was awarded the US Congressional Medal of Freedom for her service during WWII. Many nations' service men and women helped win WWII.
Women In WWII
In addition to all of this, the role of women in WWII and subsequent wars becomes clearer through the memorial tributes we see in the 2010s.
The world is still home to living WWII veterans in the 2010s, although they are dying by the thousands daily. The veterans of Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Theater are old enough that the 70th Reunion at Pearl Harbor was the last. The leaders of the group planning the yearly venture were veterans themselves and travel was becoming too taxing at 85 or 90+ years of age. We will not forget them, however.
Actor, Director, and Producer Tom Hanks has accomplished much to honor these people through his films Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and others. Not one to ever film commercials with his likeness, he agreed to a single series of commercials that promoted the World War II Veterans Memorial in Washington DC.
The concept of honoring these veterans has been important enough to him to warrant a commercial from him. His work in films and this series of commericials spurred recognition of greater numbers of WWII vetereans than otherwise would have occurred. Further, this recognition and honor has been extended to men and women, Caucasians, Blacks, Native Americaqns, and Asians that served America in WWII.
In the 2010s, we need to bring forward, reco surviving veterans and non-military personnel from WWII, record their stories, pay them respects, and and say "Thanks." We need to do this not only for Americans, but for our Allies. While Americans are familiar with the larger stories of US involvement in the war, many are unaware of the relevant histories of other nations' citizens fighting the Axis Powers - especially UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
The veterans of Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Theater are old enough that the 70th Reunion at Pearl Harbor, the Platinum Anniversary was the last. We will always remember them.
World War II Memorial and Honor Programs
- Honor Flight Network
Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America's veterans for all their sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials, free of charge.
- National WWII Memorial
The World War II Memorial honors 16 million who served in the US armed forces, the over 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort at home. This is the project that resulted in Tom Hanks's only commercials. It's that important!
- Welcome To The WWII U.S. Veterans Website
Nancy Wake's Homeland
From High Society to War Hero in the 1940s
Nancy Wake of New Zealand was the upper crust wife of a wealthy industrial tycoon in 1940 when Adolph Hitler was in France in 1940. No one suspected that she might be or become a spy. However, in 1940, Ms. Wake was in Marseilles, France when Hitler invaded. By 1945 and the end of World War II, she had become the most decorated military woman in the war as a British Agent in the French Resistance. She was awarded a total of 9 medals for bravery from various countries.
She was recognized for:
- Aiding Jewish refugees escape to Spain, the French military having held them for shipment to Hitler's concentration camps (new films about this released 2011 - 2012),
- Aiding Allied troops scape to Spain, and
- Leading 7,000 people of the French Resistance against 22,000 SS troops.
Nancy Wake showed courage and resourcefulness in fighting for freedom. Having died in 2011 at the age of 98, she is an important hero from New Zealand that served the entire world in a horrible war. We recognize her as an integral player in WWII that helped America and all the Allies preserve freedom.
Wake's husband, the rich Frenchman Henri Fiocca, was arrested, tortured, and executed by the German Gestapo, but never revealed anything of Nancy's whereabouts or missions before his death. He and Nancy both served the cause of freedom.
Wellington, New Zealand Today
Medal of Honor Winners of All Races
- American World War II Medal of Honor Recipients - Our WWII Veterans site was created as a tribute our Veterans. We include personal veteran's stories, photos of Tuskegee Airman, Code Talkers, Posters from WWII and more! We also have a listing of WW II Medal of Honor Recipients
- Women in World War II Services - Gold Medal Winners - Reading Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation and its sequels leads us to dig for more about the men and women of that generation and their contributions to defending America in world War II.
- Native American Medal of Honor Winners - Many Native Americans served in the US Military Services during WWII and won the Medal of Honor and its associated pension. Not all Native American Servicemen were Code Talkers and not all Code Talkers were Navajo.
- NMAI Code Talkers - Navajo were not the only Code Talkers. The code was recently declassified and interesting to see.
- Official Site of the Navajo Code Talkers - Known as Navajo Code Talkers, they were young Navajo men who transmitted secret communications on the battlefields of WWII.
- Tuskegee Airmen Website - A foundation dedicated to preserving the history of America's first black military airmen. Provides history and information about the airmen,
- Tuskegee Airmen - The history of a Tuskegee Airman in WWII.
- Japanese American Medal of Honor Winners
Takei and his family were placed into Japanese Internment Camps in the USA during WWII, along with other future famous actors like Pat Morita. Several Japanese Americans received the Medal of Honor for their efforts during WWII in the American military forces.
More On Nancy Wake
- Farewell to Nancy Wake, the mouse who ran rings around the Nazis | World news | The Guardian
The WW2 resistance heroine, who has died aged 98, was 'a force of nature' who topped the Gestapo's most-wanted list
- Nurse, journalist, soldier, spy | The Australian
NANCY Wake's life was such a remarkable adventure that for decades Australians seemed to have difficulty grasping its stature. So incredible were her deeds and so formidable the adversity she overcame that her biographies read like the most daring of
© 2011 Patty Inglish MS