During World War II there were more than 80,000 women that were part of the U.S. Naval Reserve called Waves, including Montpelier’s Nancy Walker.

96-year-old Nancy Walker was honored by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. She received medals for her service on Saturday.

“These women are part of the greatest generation,” Senator Leahy said. “I was just a child but I remember my parents spoke of that they paved way for women to serve equal in the military.”

Walker was honored with an American Campaign medal, World War II Victory medal, Honorable Service lapel button and Honorable Discharge button.

Walker said as her friends were getting married after graduating in 1940, she decided to take another path. She reflected on how she made the choice to join the military.

“It was the day that I saw that sign that says ‘Uncle Sam needs you’,” Walker said. “So I said okay Uncle Sam I’m coming whether you want me or not.”

Walker said serving the country was very important to her. Gender had no effect on her patriotism.

“I said that sign’s got to be changed now,” Walker said. “That they need women too in the service.”

Looking back on years of memories in the service, Walker was at a loss for words.       

“In moments like this all I can say is thank you,” she said. “You can’t express it.”

Walker was a pharmacist in naval hospitals in San Diego and Texas during her service.

Senator Leahy said giving these awards was a great reason to fly home from the nation’s capital.