Working for the lasting meaning of the ‘Rosies’

Anne Montague, Thanks! Plain and Simple Inc., Charleston

Jim Bissett’s article “Aging Rosies Tell Their Riveting Stories” on Mother’s Day was excellent. He captured the importance of mothers across many generations. This approach is so needed.

Our goal over 10 years’ work with living Rosies has been to create something from West Virginia that is meeting needs in America today. Early on, we saw that the legacy of Rosie the Riveters is to pull together to do work that needs to be done, to do it with quality and speed, and to do it to protect the basic values of America.

Rosies did not do their work to protest injustices to women or to prove that women are as valuable as men. Instead, they worked to protect the whole — including individuals, families, communities, free nations and the potential of the human family. Everyone knew it took a Herculean effort to shorten and win the war.

As I have interviewed hundreds of Rosies, I have been struck by Rosies’ memories of their mothers as women who kept things together. As I have found ways for Rosies and the public to work together to memorialize the true meaning of Rosies, I have been struck by youth’s fascination at how Rosies contributed to the fuller story of the war and what is considered “women’s work.”

We are launching The American Rosie Movement (ARM) now. As we “go national,” Rosies fade fast. Every minute counts — we must establish this new kind of social movement within the same time that America was in World War II — less than four years, and work early on is critical.

I work for the time when people will see what the lasting meaning of the Rosies is. By allowing and respecting women’s strengths, we unite to meet the changing needs of America. With this, our children will adapt our hard-won freedom to changed times, while preserving America’s principles. This is mothering, and Bissett expressed this.

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