The Rosie the Riveter Movement

Creating projects that pull America together

WWII Memorial, Spirit ’45, Washington DC

Anne Montague

My comments to you today are inspired by the Gettysburg Address, and my mother, a Rosie the Riveter, who taught me to love Abraham Lincoln.

Three score and eight years ago the men and women of this nation, combining with allied nations and peoples, won a global battle for the human family.

Now, we are losing the last of these great men and women. The battle we now fight is different. It is to understand, remember and preserve what these men and women fought for – to show this nation as a model for liberty and the proposition that all men and women are created equal.

Now, we meet throughout this nation to honor the men and women of World War II who have died and those still among who help us to know what their sacrifices and beliefs means to this nation. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot fully honor these men and women and their mission, because we have not included the women as we should in order to truly know the impact of this earth-changing war on this nation, our Allies and the world.

The number of women who worked on the home front to supply our troops equals the number soldiers who served during World War II – 6,000,000.

Today, I am here to present to you three of the 6,000,000 these women now known as Rosie the Riveters who did herculean work on the home front – jobs often called hard labor or men’s work. Now, surviving Rosie the Riveters outnumber veterans of the war, and some Rosies are also veterans.

My loss will always be great because I never asked Mother. tell me about working in the factory during the war. What did it mean to you and society.” My mission is to assure that we seize this brief moment in America for Rosies to be heard and involved in shaping how their legacy is validly known and passed to the future.

The world will better note and benefit from what we say here if this nation seizes this opportunity to be the model for liberty and the proposition that all men and women are created equal.

Two Rosie messages stand out. First, their goal then was to save lives–to help end the war and “bring our boys home.” Second, their message today is “We pulled together then; we can do it again.”

Let me introduce you to the three Rosie of many who eager to help us all fulfill America’s promise:

  • 1. Dorothy May, from Shepherdstown, West Virginia, who riveted airplanes in Maryland, and, after an injury, hauled lime for better soils that grew crops for our troops.
  • 2. Ruth Staples, from Brunswick, Maryland, who worked on the B&O Railroad, to help keep supplies moving, which was critical to the home front effort.
  • 3. Crena Anderson, from Hagerstown, Maryland, who riveted airplanes, then married a Pearl Harbor survivor, and after his death married another Pearl Harbor survivor.

Can we pull together to educate with our Rosies about the fuller story of World War II? Of course we can. Will we is the question.

I believe we will, because you, too, are dedicated to the great task remaining before us-to take increased devotion to that cause for which Rosies are pleading to be allowed to give their last measure of devotion—that this nation, under God, shall have a new awareness that freedom include better awareness of women’s abilities and contributions and of how to pull together, so that America’s principles “of the people, by the people, for the people” shall not perish from the earth.

Launching the International Rosie the Riveter Movement

Some ways you can participate are to help with: