The American Rosie MOVEMENT
The American Rosie MOVEMENT
We recently asked local Rosies who they would most like to thank for helping us find ways to teach the public about the meaning of Rosies over many years. They immediately named Ben Franklin Career Center, in Kanawha County, West Virginia, because of many ways the staff, students and administration have helped over several years. For example, one instructor adapted bluebird nest boxes to help prevent predators from eating the bluebird chicks, the history teacher invited Rosies to talk to his class, staff advised us on the sign for the park that Rosies designed from the ground up, and administration and staff have been instrumental in keeping our computers up-dated and running. Recently, two Rosies, Buddie Curnutte and Dot Finn, presented to all the students in a day dedicated to Rosie, which Ben Franklin videotaped and will have edited soon. On a side note, this website was designed and is being managed by a proud Ben Franklin graduate, David Payne II.
“Rosie” and Sophia worked with “Thanks!” on the website after our previous website went down. Rosie’s personal and work experience with women in nontraditional roles and her experience with girls continue to give us confidence that the American Rosie Movement will include high participation of women who are willing and capable of pulling together to do quality work that helps us use our freedom wisely.
This gentleman wishes to remain unknown to the public. He does not like the spotlight, but he loves to get the job done. For several years, he has organized our I.T. efforts, including creating the custom build of Windows on our computers. It’s this kind of teamwork that gets us to a higher level that is greater than any one person, group, or project could be alone.
Sally’s art has helped us prepare for the American Rosie Movement (see the tow boat named “Rosie” on our Home Page or her victory garden art in our gallery). She helps us to make visual statements to help the public understand the real meaning and impact of Rosies on America and the free world. Sally is from Pittsburgh, where her aunts (now deceased) were Rosies. She studied animation under one of advisors at Cal Arts in Los Angeles and she is married to a military man. Sally likes to work behind the scenes to advance the Rosie Legacy. Yet, as invisible as she is as a person, her art is a clear statement of the content and meaning of Rosies. All artwork by Sally Steranko is used with permission.
ARRA, as an association, represents its members, who are mostly Rosie the Riveters and their many advocates. “Thanks!” has encouraged many to join ARRA and has invited ARRA to participate in many events, projects, and other work that advance knowledge and work with Rosies. Early in our 12 years work, we invited ARRA to attend the event where Belgium thanked American Rosies for the first time in 2009, then when the UK thanked Rosies in 2010, then when Today Show taped 50 Rosies in 2012. In recent years, ARRA has announced and participated in the "Ring a Bell for Rosies" event at Labor Day since 2016. Since "Thanks!" is not an association but has a broader and long-term goals, we very much look forward to working well with ARRA.
Tim should be a founding collaborator based on his many contributions since 2011. However, we have not talked with him for several weeks, and we feel it best to simply acknowledge him as an outstanding player for now. Tim’s help through the Brunswick, MD American Legion and personally has made Brunswick, MD a model Rosie City. Examples of his “Rosie work” work are that he has helped hang a trail of bluebird nest boxes, hosted Rosies in the Annual Veterans’ Day Parade, planted a dogwood tree at Brunswick’s historic train station, arranged for the carillon in Fredrick to be rung several Labor Days, transported Rosies to and from many events in his region and in DC, made posters, went the Washington to educate Members of Congress, got a Rosies’ birth certificate in PA so that she could go to the Netherlands, took Rosies to dinner on holidays, and arranged a limo for a Rosie and teens to attend a special Girl Scout ceremony. Most of all, Tim has shown genuine concern for Rosies as persons and as living treasures. He has attended their funerals, with tears that show us all that we can be caring while we do quality work together.
Girls Scout leaders have introduced their Brownies and Girl Scouts to Rosies in many locations. The girls clearly care about Rosies. Some troops and leaders who have done outstanding work are: Marissa Fox’s Glenville, WV troop rang the first bell for Rosies, held many events for Rosies, and helped orchestrate the installing of a bell in the center of a park there; the DC District troops helped Madeline LeBeau honor Rosies at the opening of a Rosie garden; a Philadelphia-area troop wears jackets showing a Rosie a with a robotic arm (they gave one to June Robbins) and helped plant a dogwood tree in Media, PA; and troops in Winchester, KY and Brunswick, MD planted dogwood trees. Madeline LaBeau, Director of I Witnessed, I Remember and Rosie Smith (above) are life-long Girl Scouts.
Joanna first came to us because she wanted to know about a cannery in her community that produced food for our troops during WWII. We knew nothing about it, so she made a significant effort to find a Rosie who had worked at the cannery. Although she did not find a Rosie, she wrote the history of the cannery. Today, she is a narrator on Amtrak, and she is preparing a script about Rosies who worked on the portion of the Amtrak Cardinal route that includes the DuPont Plant that made liquid nylon that was then made into many products, such as parachutes. As a retired high school business teacher who loves applying history to the present, Joanna volunteers to do many tasks, such as visit with Rosies and advise on organizational issues and strategy.
A series of events have led to Americans uniting to "Ring a Bell for Rosies” across America and in other nations annually on Labor Day at 1 P.M.
The history is full of meaningful events: After World War II, the people of the Netherlands gave the people of the United States a carillon to thank America for its help during and after the war. This carillon stands tall between Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial in the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Each time the bells of the carillon ring, it’s as though the people of the Netherlands are thanking the people of the United States for their help. The American Rosie Movement adopted this symbolism when it started ringing handbells on Labor Day 2016.
In 2008, Thanks! Plain and Simple, Inc. (“Thanks!”), a nonprofit organization started to work toward the goal of getting America to understand and take action to preserve the Riveter Legacy which is to pull together to do highest-quality work for freedom. Soon, it was clear that America has not heard or understood the full importance of Rosies. Thus, Queen Juliana’s “every voice counts” is most relevant.
In May and June, 2015, “Thanks!” and others worked with the Netherlands Embassy, the National Liberation Museum in Nijmegan, Netherlands, and the King and Queen of the Netherlands at Arlington Cemetery and held ceremonies to thank American Rosies.
In April, 2016, an odd thing happened. “Thanks!” first showed that people in different places will unify to work with Rosies and honor their full contributions. Dogwood trees were planted in four states at the same moment, but in the town of Buckhannon, WV it rained so hard that the Rosie, Bobbie Lamb, could not go outside to see the tree planted. So, Bill Bonnett, Captain (Retired), US Navy gave a brass handbell to a Brownie Girl Scout, Kendra Fox, who rang the bell at the moment the tree was put in the ground, so that Bobbie Lamb would know that people were uniting to plant trees at exactly that moment in different places with Rosies.
In May 2016, “Thanks!” took Anna Hess, a Rosie who had gone to the Netherlands the previous year, to the Netherlands Embassy in Washington and then to the Netherlands Carillon, where the Ambassador talked of the history of the carillon and how the bells were made of melted down artillery shells. At that moment, “Thanks!” saw that bells must be used to wake up people to the importance of following the Rosie Legacy.
On Labor Day, 2016, the first “Ring a Bell for Rosies” event was held and included the Liberty Bell, bells on ships that were built by Rosies, and at least 50 locations including London and Nijmegen. This year, 2020, will be the fifth year for ringing of the bells on Labor Day. The American Rosie Movement is a new kind of social movement that is not based on protest; it is based on waking up America to realize that we can work in unity, starting with embedding the Rosie Legacy into America’s identity and future.
“Thanks! Plain and Simple” is a nonprofit organization with 12 years of experience to find and work with America’s Rosie the Riveters. Americans are clearly inspired by the Rosies. You can help seize this moment to do Rosie work together to preserve and use our freedom wisely.
The West Virginia Humanities Council has provided a great deal of funding to help us in our mission. Thanks to them, we have more funding to help us do what we do best. We at "Thanks! Plain and Simple" say thank you for your help!
West Virginia Humanities Council: