First female general in U.S. armed forces, dies at 97
As a small child, Anna Mae V. McCabe Hays bandaged legs of tables and chairs. Later, in seventh grade, she wrote that she was going to be the best nurse.

“I was always talking about smiling a great deal, of being happy and doing the very best that I could,” she said many years later.
 
With that drive and sense of purpose, the Allentown High School graduate worked as an Army nurse overseas during World War II, led the Army Nurse Corps at the height of the Vietnam War and in 1970 became the first woman in the U.S. armed forces to wear the star of a general.
 
If I had it to do over again,” the retired brigadier general said of her three decades in the Army, “I would do it longer.”

Hays, who came to Allentown as a youngster with her Salvation Army parents and always identified with the city, died Sunday at Knollwood Nursing Home in Washington, D.C., according to her niece, Doris Kressly of Danielsville. Hays was 97.

Prior to moving to Knollwood, Hays had lived in Arlington, Va., for more than 50 years.

“She was an amazing woman who accomplished some great things and lived life on her terms,” Kressly said Sunday. “In the sense of feeling a loss, I don’t. She lived a magnificent life and I’m glad she got to live it the way she did.”