The sound of rivet guns ringing in her ears, Rosie the Riveter took her work at the shipyard or at Boeing aircraft seriously during WWII. When the holes had to be reamed out to make them larger, Rosie did that, too. To avoid accidental attack, she had to walk gingerly around powerful air hoses laying on the ground as she went to the restroom or leave for the day. Metallic smells brought on nausea, but she never quit. Her slogan was “We Can Do It!”
In my novel, Foxtrots and Foxholes, millions of Rosies had heeded the call as a result of the government’s propaganda campaign. After all, norms were being challenged. White, middle-class women did not work outside of the home, until they were first sold on the importance of the war effort. May 29, 1943, Norman Rockwell’s image of Rosie appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. The demands of the labor market propelled even women with young children to take high-paying war jobs. Between patriotism and economics, women found good reason to trade, in some instances, homemaking for bomb making.
After the war, most women returned to raising children and caring for their homes and husbands (as evidenced in the 1950s), but society’s attitude toward working women changed forever. A lively debate could be made as to the benefits or hindrances of such change, a topic for a future post.
Today, some 70 years since WWII, America fights other enemies throughout the world. Attitudes have changed regarding support of the war effort. Some have never known the blood sacrifice of men and women fighting for freedom to be enjoyed by all. Others can never forget.
I wonder about so many things: Where are the riveters? Where are the people who engage themselves in worthy causes for the sake of a better America? My fondest dream is to say, “I’m engaged!”
And I don’t mean to a man…just any earthly man. I want to be riveted to life. As a matter of fact, I’ll lift my glass to that. “L’Chayim! To Life!”
All is rosy when we’re riveted to the Giver of life.