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Fran White graduated from high school in May 1969 and went from her foster home into the U.S. Army in September with a few friends.

According to White, who grew up in Solon Springs, Wis. — a small town of about 500 people at the time — she was a bit naive when she arrived at Fort McClellan, Ala.

“It was a terrific experience, I learned so much from joining the service,” White said. “I wish more young people would join.”

She served as a secretary to a colonel and stayed stateside, even though the United States was deep in the war in Vietnam at the time because women were not allowed overseas unless they were in the medical profession.

White met her first husband while in the military and got married. He was deployed to Vietnam.

“He came back totally different and strung out on heroin,” White said.

They divorced and White hoped she would not hear about heroin again.

Her second husband served in the Navy and was the love of her life. Sadly, he passed away five years ago.

White joined the Fond du Lac Honor Guard in 2007 and carries the Eagle Staff to represent all of the Fond du Lac female veterans.

“It's a way to help my fellow veterans,” White said. “I try to be a role model and try to help others.”

For White, Veterans Day is a day to remember the sacrifices of the people who have served so we can have our freedom.

“The families who stay at home are heroes also because they had to carry on without that service person,” White said.