Alumna’s efforts to honor WWII women pilots pay off in Congressional Gold Medal
For years, Nancy Parrish, MA ’80, has led the push to honor the Fly Girls of World War II — female pilots who, after serving their country during WWII, were ignored for decades. If that story sounds familiar, you might be remembering an exhibit you saw at Baylor’s Mayborn Museum, the cover story from the last Baylor Magazine — or a story you saw on the news recently, as the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) were finally recognized with the Congressional Gold Medal, nearly 66 years after their service.
The story made headlines in most every major media outlet, from ABC to PBS to CNN, when the pilots — including Parrish’s mother, Deanie, and the lone Baylor alumna to serve as a WASP, Ruth Helm, BBA ’37 — were honored at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. According to at least one report, there were more people in attendance for this ceremony than for any other event ever held at the Capitol other than inaugurations. (See photos here, and video highlights here.)
The speakers at the ceremony included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and longtime NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw. A moving event, to be sure — one that was long overdue, and one that would not have happened had it not been for the hard work and dedication of one Baylor Bear.
Sic ’em, Nancy Parrish, and sic ’em, Fly Girls!