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Reflections on a Life Well-Lived

NANTICOKE, Pa. -- Doris Merrill of Nanticoke spent much of World War II at the Christian Admiral Hotel in Cape May, New Jersey.

The beachfront resort also housed a Naval Intelligence Unit that tried to crack enemy codes.

Merrill was the only woman in a group of older officers, all of whom were men.

"I learned so much from those men," said Merrill. "Oh, they weren't happy at the idea of a woman coming in to work with them but then, in about a week, they treated me like I was their daughter."

Right after the war, she met a Marine from Maine. She fell in love and married her husband Paul in a full military ceremony.

She accumulated roughly 70 medals but not from the military.

Shortly after leaving the military and eventually becoming a teacher in Nanticoke, Doris Merrill was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and began a new kind of service as an advocate for people with disabilities.

16 years ago, President George W. Bush recognized her contributions to the military and the disabled.

"Life has been so good and being in the service was part of it," said Merrill.

At 94, Doris has outlived her husband and her son.

On Memorial Day she gives thanks to those who fought and died in war but being one of the few women in the military in World War II, she also reflects on how women who followed in her footsteps have become Admirals and Generals.

"It's about time," said Merril.