Rosie the Riveters gathered on Labor Day to Honor the Working Women of WWIIBreaking News
tags: labor, Detroit, womens history, World War 2, war industry
Ten members of the Greatest Generation attended a gathering Labor Day afternoon in Ypsilanti's North Bay Park that honored them and dedicated 10 rosebushes to the working women of World War II.
The event was organized by the American Rosie the Riveter Association, where 30 people, including seven Rosies, two WWII veterans and one male factory worker were in attendance. Members of the association wore blue overalls and red bandannas, signature looks from Rosie's iconic posters.
Ypsilanti Township considers itself to be the home of Rosie the Riveter. The original Rosie, Rose Will Monroe from the WWII newsreels, worked at the aircraft manufacturing Willow Run Bomber Plant in Ypsilanti Township. It was one of the largest factories of its time, built under two years. In 2018, Ypsilanti made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people dressed as Rosie the Riveter at a gathering.
Speakers included association members, including Michigan Director Nancy Zajac, and family members. Daughters of a Rosie are called rosebuds while sons are called rivets — one rosebud, Vivienne Larsh, spoke of her mother's life, calling her a "true factory rat at heart".
Ypsilanti Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo also attended the event. She told the crowd General Motors planned to tear down the plant, but the Yankee Air Museum and Stumbo managed to convince them to keep the building to remember the women of Ypsilanti's history.
The Rosies and veterans then told stories from the front lines. One Rosie said she was shocked at the idea of wearing pants to work. A veteran recalled being shot down from the sky in northern Italy and receiving notes from Rosies back home full of profanities toward Hitler. One woman said she had never been kissed by so many people as she had been in New York Times Square when the war was over.
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