News :: Calling all Rosie’s – and Rosebuds and Rivets!

March 28, 2011

A Message from Dr. Frances Carter
Founder and Executive Director
Association of Rosie the Riveters of America

As we come to the end of National Women’s History Month, it is a good time to remember and reflect upon the achievements of women who were members of what is now often referred to as America’s “greatest generation.” I’m not sure we deserve that title. Every American generation has been great in its own circumstance. But ours did endure the difficult times of the Great Depression and were called on to save freedom and democracy from one of the worst tyrants in history. Then we went on to help rebuild the shattered world of both friend and former foe to assure a better future for our children and our children’s children.   Women were a central part of this story, especially during WWII when we served both in uniform and in so many ways on the home front to support our troops overseas.

However, too often the contributions of these women are not properly acknowledged for how much of a difference they made at the time and how their service to their country redefined their role in American society in so many important ways.

Back in World War II our country’s very existence was threatened by the Axis Powers. They had conquered almost all of Europe and a big part of Asia. They attacked us and destroyed a large part of our military fleet at Pearl Harbor.  We feared that California would be next. But we were determined to stop them. Everybody pitched in and did something to help protect our country.

Almost every able-bodied man was called into military service. And as they went off to fight, their places on the home front had to be filled by someone. That’s where “Rosie the Riveter” came in - millions of them. They came out of the offices and schoolrooms and homes and took jobs that women just hadn’t done until that time. They built thousands of Jeeps, tanks, airplanes, and artillery pieces, built thousands of ships to carry our soldiers, sailors, and Marines and the supplies needed by our armed forces that were fighting in Europe, Africa and the Pacific.  They worked as riveters and welders and machinists and truck drivers and farmers and firefighters and nurses. They worked for pay or they worked as volunteers, collecting critical materials or selling war bonds or entertaining troops at the U.S.O. to help keep up the morale of our young men who were going off to fight, and maybe die in service to our country.

http://www.spiritof45.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/icon_camera_15w.png Rosie the Riveters of World War II
Click once to see video. Click twice to see it on YouTube.

No matter what their job was, these women who served on the home front came to be known as “Rosie the Riveter.” This name became famous because of a popular song by that name and a couple of movies that featured “Rosies.” Everyone remembers the famous poster with the image of the Rosie in the red kerchief that says “We Can Do It!”

Back then it was easy to find Rosie’s. They were everywhere. I was one, myself, working as a riveter on B-29 airplanes at a plant in Birmingham, Alabama.  I still consider my work during the war as one of the most personally fulfilling and worthwhile experiences of my life, as I am sure so many other Rosies do.

But when WWII ended, most of us weren’t needed any more. The men came home, and it was only right that they should have their jobs back. Most of us welcomed them and married them and sort of reverted back to a more feminine role, like having babies and keeping the home fires burning.  Our memory of how we helped our country in its time of greatest need has sort of faded away.  Uncle Sam keeps up with the veterans, but no records were kept on the old Rosie’s who are now passing away into history, their stories of service to be forgotten.

In 1999, I founded the American Rosie the Riveter Association, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to assure that the legacy of these women is forever preserved.   We are desperately trying to find as many of them as we can to invite them to join our organization and to help identify and recruit other Rosies who might otherwise not be recognized for what they did to help our country more than 65 years ago.

http://www.spiritof45.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/icon_camera_15w.png The Four Vagabonds sing about Rosie the Riveter
Click once to see video. Click twice to see it on YouTube.

We’re reaching out not only to the Rosie’s themselves, but also to all their female descendants, their daughters, granddaughters, and great granddaughters, asking them to honor their Rosie’s work by joining the Association as “Rosebuds.”  Male descendants and spouses of Rosie’s or Rosebuds are eligible to join as auxiliary members, lovingly called “Rivets.”  (We don’t let them vote or hold office, but you’d be surprised at how useful they can be, especially at the local chapter level!  As they say, behind every great woman is a good man!)

So…if you were a “Rosie” yourself, or if you think your mom or grand mom may have been one, or if you would simply like to help us make sure as many Rosies are made aware that there is a special organization dedicated to preserving their legacy so that it can continue to educate and inspire Americans, please contact us for further information, or check out our web site at www.rosietheriveter.net.

You can write to me at the following address.
Dr. Fran Carter, Founder and Executive Director
American Rosie the Riveter Association
209 University Park Drive
Birmingham, AL 35209
e-mail: fran.carter@juno.com

Be sure to include your complete mailing address, so we can send you a packet of material.
Thank you for helping to keep the Spirit of ’45 - and the legacy of the Rosies - alive so that it can continue to inspire future generations of Americans.

Dr. Frances Carter and her husband John with Linda Laurie, National Events coordinator at Spirit of '45 Leaders conference in Baton Rouge, La., Feb. 26, 2011

Links for more information:
ARRA – www.rosietheriveter.net
Rosie on Wiki
National Park Service
US History
US Dept. of Transportation

http://www.spiritof45.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/icon_camera_25w.png For more videos, Search on YouTube for “Rosie the Riveter”.

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