Gladys Hughes is a World War II veteran who has seen quite a lot in her 99 years, and she has a message for Americans that serves as a reminder that those who have served in the military deserve more respect than they are getting these days.
Happy 97th Birthday to our very own @USCG #WWII #SPAR Gladys Hughes. @MSVETAMERICA official Judge and 2nd Runner up in 2012. Author, Director, Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother— #Veteran… @wimsatweets @FinalSaluteInc We love and honor you today! pic.twitter.com/DZJv9vFGzH
— Ms. Veteran America (@MSVETAMERICA) September 23, 2020
Hughes Speaks Out
“When someone says to me, ‘Thank you for your service,’ I want to shout out to them, ‘Thank you for caring!’” Hughes recently told Fox News.
“The men and women who have served our country are responsible for the many freedoms that we have,” she added. “In some way, since I was in the military, I know what these veterans have gone through. No, not the war or the fighting — but the mental, physical and emotional strength they have to have to serve our country.”
During World War II, Hughes served in the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, also known as the SPARs. Though it’s been decades since Hughes served her country, it’s an experience that she’s never forgotten.
“I have never forgotten that l was in the military,” she said. “Perhaps I was born patriotic. To this day I am proud to be an American and to have served in the U.S. Coast Guard SPARs.”
Happy 96th Birthday to this beauty, Ms. Gladys Hughes, a World War II Coast Guard SPAR – part of the Greatest Generation. She competed for Ms. Veteran America when she was 88)
She’s an inspiration to me with an amazing spirit of love! @wimsatweets @MSVETAMERICA @FinalSaluteInc pic.twitter.com/c2Pc2fRcF0
— Lachrisha Parker -This is Me (@WomenWarrior19) September 23, 2019
What Hughes Learned While Serving
“While in the service I learned a great deal,” Hughes continued. “I learned not only a lot about myself, but also about our country and my responsibility to it.”
While serving in the SPARs, Hughes said she “worked in the sick bay. I met many people whose friendships have remained through the years. I learned discipline and the necessity of it. I learned respect.”
“It was instilled in me that I was there ‘to free a man to fight,'” she explained. “Fighting for our country was what had to be done after Pearl Harbor.”
Congratulations to Gladys Hughes, a WW II veteran, and this week’s Peoples Health Champion!! pic.twitter.com/lav0np5H0b
— John Young (@JohnYoungLA) December 24, 2018
For Veterans Day this year, Hughes was an honorary guest at The Charlie Daniels Patriot Awards, an event that is held every year.
“Once again, those who are concerned about the welfare of our returning veterans came to make a difference,” said TCDJHP co-founder and Daniels’ longtime manager David Corlew. “It was a wonderful evening of patriotism, support and caring.”
— Journey Home Project/ Founder Charlie Daniels (@TJHproject) November 11, 2022
‘The One Question We Should Ask Ourselves Is…’
Hughes appears to have had a great time at this event.
“Veterans Day is one way to honor and pay respect to all who have served,” she said. “I was so proud to be part of the Charlie Daniels Patriot Awards event. To know and understand the mission of The Journey Home Project is very important to me.”
Hughes went on to say that “events and organizations like this are necessary to assist our military brothers and sisters who are hurting and/or are in need.”
“The one question we should ask ourselves is, ‘What can I do to help?’” she concluded.
Hughes is sadly one of the last veterans we still have with us from the Greatest Generation. She comes from a time when patriotism and serving one’s country was something that was respected far more than it sadly is today in modern America.
We’d like to thank Hughes for her service, and for sending a message to America that is more important now than ever before!