The Ford Motor Company Fund, Talons Out Honor Flight, and the Yankee Air Museum this week honored 30 original “Rosie the Riveter” women with a trip from Michigan to Washington, D.C. to visit the WWII Memorial and enjoy a luncheon in their honor at the Library of Congress.
The Rosies, today aged 88 to 98 years, were all an integral part of the “Arsenal of Democracy,” or America’s massive industrial effort to support the Allies before the country joined the combat itself. Ford’s Willow Run manufacturing complex in Ypsilanti, Michigan built a total of almost 9,000 B-24 “Liberator” bombers – half of the total number made during the war – and commanded a work force of some 42,000 during its peak.
The only way that Willow Run and other facilities like it were able to produce munitions in sufficient quantities was with the help of pioneering female industrial workers like the original Rosie the Riveter women. At one point, says Ford, up to a third of the workforce at Willow Run was comprised of women, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that they opened doors for working women all across the US.
“These women not only helped win a war, they paved the way for future generations to achieve economic and personal independence,” said Ford Motor Company Fund President Jim Vella. “It is an honor to celebrate their vital contributions to our country and the cause of freedom.”
Incidentally, we saw a number of original Rosie the Riveter women at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport while we were flying out to cover the 2016 New York International Auto Show. It was an honor to share a terminal with so many strong, pioneering women.