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"I Shall Appear Fearless..." - Pledge of the Army Nurse

The World Health Organization has designated 2020 “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife.”

This year, we celebrate the vital importance of nurses and midwives in maintaining the health of communities all over the world. 

For generations, sick or injured patients were nursed back to health by family members—often the women of the household. This role moved out of the home and into the professional sphere during military conflicts. Nearly 23,000 military nurses served in the First World War. Their legendary dedication, along with increasingly rigorous scientific and medical training, earned new respect for the field of nursing. 

During World War II, even more nurses served: over 70,000. Their experiences were in some ways similar to today: most Americans spend far less time with physicians than with the nurses who listen to their symptoms, chart their progress, perform many procedures, and advocate for their best care. In World War II, military nurses received officer’s commissions along with free education and dependent and retirement benefits. They also found themselves closer to the front lines than ever before. Join us as we explore the stories of three Jewish nurses who answered the call.

All images, unless otherwise indicated, are from the collection of the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Right Image:

American Red Cross poster
Washington, DC: Office of War Information, ca. 1944
UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

In Memory of D. Walter Cohen z"l

With deep gratitude for his long-time support and service, the National Museum of American Jewish History, honors D. Walter Cohen z”l, longtime Board member who served as President for ten years. During Dr. Cohen’s 35-year career at the University of Pennsylvania, he mentored generations of dental students, served as dean from 1972-1983, and established the Department of Periodontics and served as its first chairman. In 1986, the D. Walter Cohen and Betty A. Cohen Professor and Chair in Periodontal Research was dedicated at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and in 1997, the Hebrew University dedicated the D. Walter Cohen, D.D.S., Middle East Center for Dental Education in Israel. He also helped establish the Betty A. Cohen Endowed Chair in Women’s Health at Drexel University. Dr. Cohen taught and advised in Philadelphia and around the world, and took special interest in creating opportunities for women. In 1994 he co-founded the Executive Leadership Program for Women in Academic Medicine (ELAM). Many of the over 700 graduates have advanced to leadership positions in medical and dental schools around the country.