Sarah L. Blum, is a decorated nurse Vietnam veteran who earned the Army Commendation Medal serving as an operating room nurse at the 12th Evacuation Hospital Cu Chi, Vietnam during the height of the fighting in 1967. Sarah was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for exemplary service as head nurse of the orthopedic ward at Madigan Army Hospital in 1968, where she was also the assistant director of nursing on evening and night shift in 1970. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, Summa Cum Laude, from Seattle University and her Master’s in Psychosocial Nursing, Cum Laude, from U. W.. At age 73, Sarah is still a practicing nurse psychotherapist with over 28 years experience.
Because of her Vietnam experiences, Sarah is a practicing nurse psychotherapist with over 28 years experience working with PTSD and trauma resolution, including giving a workshop to Vietnam veterans on PTSD. She co-created Recognition/Friendship Day in Seattle, Washington on Veterans Day, 1985. Against all odds, including threats by Vietnam veterans, Sarah helped bring together American Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese veterans for the first time since the Vietnam War. Sarah worked in partnership with Thu-Van Nguyen, a Vietnamese hospital worker, to create this special day. Men who formerly hated each other cried, exchanged hugs, and told their stories. All of the local newspapers, radio and television stations were present in the Veterans Hall at Seattle Center along with over 275 attendees. In a letter to Senator Daniel J. Evans the Post Adjutant of the American Legion said, “What these two ladies have accomplished on November 11, 1985 deserves the gratitude of all who served in our armed forces from 1961-1975.”
Sarah was one of the first two women elected to the National Board of Directors of the Vietnam Veterans of America in 1983, and was active in veteran’s affairs. She successfully lobbied Congress to study the connection between Agent Orange and birth defects in the children of women Vietnam veterans. KING and KOMO TV did specials on Sarah’s work during 1984-1985.
Her article “Healing Journey for Women Military Veterans” appeared in the September issue of The New Times. In November 1993, Sarah led a healing journey to Washington D.C. for male and female Vietnam veterans, to help them heal their emotional wounds.
“Reseeding the Fields of War” appeared in the September 29, 1996 issue of The Seattle Times. That article written by Sherry Stripling, featured Sarah Blum and the first PeaceTrees Vietnam trip from November-December 1996; Sarah was the only woman Vietnam veteran participating. Prior to the trip, Sarah’s article, “Peace in War-Torn Land,” was published in the July 1997 issue of The New Times. For Veterans Day 1997, The South County Journal did a feature article on Sarah and the PeaceTrees trip called “Women Under Fire,” and for Veterans Day 1998, The South County Journal did a front page story describing a documentary film project that Sarah and former war photographer, Ken Williamson, were planning on doing for transformation and healing. On November 23, 1996 at the start of the PeaceTrees Vietnam trip The South County Journal did another front-page story featuring Sarah. The DVD, PeaceTrees Vietnam: Reversing the Legacy of War includes long sections with Sarah.
Under her married name Saralee McGoran, she is featured in Myra MacPherson’s book Long Time Passing: Vietnam and The Haunted Generation on pages 502-506; and the last chapter of Kathryn Marshall’s book In The Combat Zone: An Oral History of American Women in Vietnam.
Sarah L. Blum ARNP is listed in Who’s Who in: America, Who’s Who in American Women, Nursing, and Medicine and Healthcare, and is a member of Vietnam Veterans of America, the National Association of Professional Women which has over 160,000 members, and the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association. Sarah is also a member of “We Are One: Women Veterans in Washington state and 1.8 million in America!”
Sarah obtained her black belt in Aikido at age sixty-eight, continues to train and also teaches aikido. She is an African Drummer and African Balaphone player. At age sixty-nine she began sculling. Sarah is full of vitality and loves to dance, drum, sing, and bring people together. Sarah has two grown children, a daughter who is a well-respected and effective M.S.W., and a son who is a professional musician and college teacher, author, and owner of a “The Tuned in Music Academy,” and she has two granddaughters and a grandson.