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Fighting to Remember All Veterans

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) As Veterans Day approaches, the Corridor will be honoring those who have served their country. But one local vet is making sure that every one of her fellow soldiers are remembered, regardless of their gender.

Sometimes when Miyoko Hikiji stands in line with her fellow veterans for a free breakfast as local grocery stores, she has to explain that she is actually one of them.

"And the guy says, Well good for you, but you're too pretty for it." He meant it as a complement, but it's hard to take it that way, says the Iraq War Veteran.

She breaks the stereotype of the gritty male soldier. One that leads to welcome home signs for husbands, brothers and sons.

"Those titles didnt seem inclusive to Wife, Mother or Sister. My existence remained implied, said Hikiji.

So now, she works to break those stereotypes in All I Could Be, an account of her time serving in Iraq.

"Because we think brutal and violent and we don't think Miyoko Hikiji, said Hikiji.

She says by writing the book and sharing her experiences, she tries to teach others that not all soldiers look how you might expect them to.

"And I do want young women to see that there are role models out there for women who are interested in military service, said Hikiji.

Women just like Staff Sergeant Kristin Wilhelm, whos in the Army Reserves out of Cedar Rapids.

"It's just kind of nice to know that somebody else shares those experiences and can relate to what you've been through, said Wilhelm

"You don't always know how to talk about it. But with somebody that you know that's been there, it's just natural, said Hikiji.

Hikiji says writing the book helped her to move on after returning home, but was also challenging because it forced her to relive the tough times as well.
 
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