N.C. Nurse Honor Guard’s ceremony

The N.C. Nurse Honor Guard’s ceremony to honor the service of WWII Army Nurse Dorothy Managan, now 100 years old was the occasion for two women to meet. A Hawaiian baby girl living on Oahu during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 recently and Army Nurse who took care of American POWs returning from Japanese prisons in 1945. Both nurses, they shared their stories about the event that started WWII for the United States of America, and its end . . . 82 years later.

In a precision military-like ceremony

Twelve Western North Carolina nurses, ages 28 to 82, stood at attention as she walked into the room.

The Honor Guard Nurses had arrived very early to don their pristine white uniforms, gloves, caps, stockings and shoes. Their trademark blue capes with red linings were decorated with their nursing school graduation pins, N.C. Nurse Honor Guard pins, and Florence Nightingale (Meritorious Award) pins.

Guest of Honor Dorothy Managen

Once the guest of honor, U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Dorothy Managan, was seated before the two ruler-straight-rows of crisply uniformed, perfectly-postured professional nurses, the formal ceremony began. First, nurse Jean Poteat gave the crisp and assertive commands, “Attention! Present Arms! Order Arms!” The twelve nurses offered a synchronized salute to Managan. They paused.

Managan, partially raising her right arm, asked, “Should I salute back?” Poteat, smiling, softly said, “No.” Everyone in the room smiled or chuckled. Managan realized she had created a little bit of humor and turned to smile around the room and enjoy the moment. Everyone did.

The ice was now broken, we were all now officially friends. The ceremony proceeded professionally; also relaxed and warm. The hundred-year-old lifelong nurse had already made a positive difference in other people’s lives.

Nightingale Tribute

N.C. Nurse Honor Guard founder Cynthia “Cindy” Glover-Hoxit read the Nightingale tribute to Dorothy Managan. Where you see her name in bold type below, it was spoken by all the nurses, still standing at attention. Imagine the sound of twelve firm and respectful voices in unison as you read.

This is the Nightingale tribute, modified for Dorothy Managan’s ceremony:

N.C. Nurse Honor Guard founder Cynthia Glover-Hoxit and Dorothy 

Nursing is a calling, a lifestyle, a way of living.

The nurses here today honor our sister nurse 2nd Lt. Dorothy Managan, RN, MSN, and her life as a nurse. Dorothy is not remembered by her many years as a nurse, but by the difference she made during those years by stepping into people’s lives . . . by special moments. When a calming, quiet presence was all that was needed, Dorothy was there. In the excitement of the miracle of birth or in the mystery of the loss of life, Dorothy was there. When a silent glance could uplift a patient, family member, or friend, Dorothy was there.

All those times when the unexplainable needed to be explained, Dorothy was there. When the situation demanded a swift foot and a sharp mind, Dorothy was there. When a gentle touch, a firm push, or encouraging word was needed, Dorothy was there. To witness humanity, its beauty, in good times and in bad, without judgment, Dorothy was there. To embrace the woes of the world willingly and offer hope to our prisoners of war returning from the Pacific at the end of World War II, Dorothy was there.

After the tribute, nurse Cecilia Neira presented a red rose: “Dorothy, we honor you this day and give you a red rose to symbolize our honor and appreciation for your service to our beloved United States of America.”

Next in the ceremony, nurse Jean Poteat recited The Nurses’ Prayer. Honor Guard Co-Founder Doris Silvernell presented a certificate of appreciation. Nurse Donna Miller presented a “comfort” blanket embroidered with the N.C. Nurse Honor Guard logo.

veteran receiving rose

Nurse Cecilia Neira presented a red rose

Managan is their hero

The nurses told Managan she is their hero. She replied, “No, I want to honor you. It is your smile and your hands who are doing the work directed by God, and who carry on. I honor you.”

Following the formal ceremony, each of the twelve Honor Guard members took turns sitting next to Dorothy Managan to introduce themselves and tell her about their nursing careers. Listening intently, she spoke to each person with a response about the importance of their personal medical work. Specialties they told her about included labor and delivery/newborn nursery, emergency room, operating room, medical/surgical, Hospice, camp nursing, teaching, home health nursing, psychiatry and geriatrics.

Following are some individual conversations between the Honor Guard Nurses and their honoree:

Nurse Samantha Burleson, age 28, told Managan that she travels a 300-mile-per-day territory delivering home health care, and had taken the day off work and driven from Spruce Pine, N.C. to be part of this ceremony.

Honor Guard Founder Cindy Glover-Hoxit presented Managan with her personal Nightingale pin (which she earned for meritorious service), removing it from her own uniform and pinning it on Managan’s collar. Hoxit explained that the Nightingale pin was commissioned by Prince Albert and presented to Florence Nightingale by Queen Victoria. This pin is now worn by N.C. Nurse Honor Guard members.

home health care nurse with dorothy
Home Health Nurse lifelong nurse Dorothy Managan

Spending time with each nurse,

Hawaii native (the baby mentioned earlier) Cecilia Neira shared her personal story with Managan. “Ceci” Neira was seven months old when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. She was too young to remember that infamous event near her Oahu home, but years later her parents told her about the sound of bombs, low-flying planes, and black smoke coming from Pearl Harbor.

Neira remembers her dad wearing a helmet with the letters CD on the front. He was a volunteer in Civil Defense during the night hours, helping to make sure everyone was safe. She also remembers the windows in their home were painted black to ensure their electric lights were not detected from the outside. Ceci Neira, now age 82, is a Psychiatric and Geriatric Nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Asheville, N.C.

During this ceremony Neira came face-to-face with a WWII Army Nurse who took care of American POWs returning from the Pacific after V-J Day, the ending of the war. Seven-month-old Cecilia Neira had been present at its very beginning in 1941. Second Lieutenant Dorothy Managan told Neira how she served as head of a nursing ward at Ft. Lewis Hospital in Washington State in 1945, where starved, tortured, and emaciated American prisoners were brought when the war was finally over. It was meeting of two generations of American nurses, both with a place in history.

After spending time with each nurse, Managan signed copies of the book “We Shall Come Home Victorious” for several of the nurses, inscribing her signature on the page where her personal WWII story begins.
In addition to the nurses, the ceremony was attended by Blue Ridge Quilts of Valor Co-Leader Didi Salvatierra and Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas volunteer Janis Allen. For information about Quilts of Valor or to nominate a veteran for a quilt visit qovf.org.

End of the celebratory event

Everyone seemed reluctant to end the celebratory event and to part with new friends. Playfully, three nurses removed a cap, gloves, or cape, and placed them on Dorothy Managan for a final, fun photo and warm goodbyes. While deciding whether to fold their capes back across a shoulder or not, one of them explained the significance of that manner of wearing the nurses’ cape, “Since WWI, nurses have draped their capes over a shoulder to show the red lining, demonstrating to the enemy they were nurses.” A small but important piece of history!

The N.C. group has conducted 78 services since their founding in May 2021. The vast majority of their ceremonies are performed to honor deceased nurses. The ceremony for Dorothy Managan was the first time they have had the pleasure of honoring a nurse during her lifetime—an exciting day for the twelve Honor Guard members for many reasons.

The N.C. Nurse Honor Guard holds ceremonies for nurses who are living, deceased, and who have been placed in end-of life care. They serve at the request of families. They honor all nurses, not just those who served in the military. All operations are from volunteers and they operate 100% from donations. They are building a fund for a nursing scholarship. Donations are welcome and appreciated.

For more information, please email Cynthia Glover-Hoxit at mimicindy4961@yahoo.com or call or text her at 828-553-3230 or  click here to visit their Facebook group.

Families may request services through any Western North Carolina funeral home. Nurse Honor Guards operate all over the United States. Visit the Nurse Honor Guards Facebook page  or email National President of the National Coalition of Nurse Honor Guard Julia Godby-Murray Jmury581@gmail.com.

Top of page group photo

Front row, from left: Doris Silvernell, Co-Founder, Marie Oakes, Jean Poteat, Honoree Dorothy Managan, Donna Miller, Cecilia Neira, and Cynthia Glover-Hoxit, Founder.

Back row, from left: Joyce Williams, Judy Keels, Cindy Crawford, Barb McElroy, Samantha Burleson, and Barbara Moore