During World War II, when many of the men were involved in the fighting over seas, a group of women stepped up and filled the gap as welders working in the bomber plants. They became known as Rosie the Riveter, and there were thousands of them. It really became a movement of female empowerment, and I don’t know how the war would have gone without them. It was a movement of solidarity. They worked to keep the American Army Air Forces in much needed bombers. There were men who were riveters too, including my Uncle Bill Spencer, who was turned down for the service because of flat feet and a hernia, but most of them were women, and they included my Aunt Laura Spencer and my Aunt Ruth Spencer. It was a time when it was all hands on deck…our fighting airmen needed our help and support. One of those fighting airmen was my dad, Allen Spencer, brother to Laura, Bill, and Ruth. I’m sure it seemed to them, the best way they could help their brother, and all the other airmen.
The other day, I came across an article in the paper about the Willow Run bomber plant in Willow Run, Michigan. It would seem that this little slice of history is set to go on the chopping block. I suppose that not every historic landmark can be saved, but it seems such a horrible shame to tear down a building that marked such a heroic effort by so many people, to stand behind a nation at war, by meeting such an enormous need. Between 1942 and 1945, crews numbering tens of thousands built roughly one B-24 Liberator an hour…8,685 in all. There were women all over the country performing the work that had always been done by men, but at the Willow Run plant, one Rose Will Monroe worked alongside 40,000 other workers…mostly women…and soon she became the trademark…Rosie the Riveter. Before long, all those women were known as Rosie the Riveters…and they considered it an honor to bear the title.
Now, the Willow Run bomber plant is in peril. Those who remember the trademark Rosies, want to keep their history alive, but in order to do so, they need 8 million dollars. They don’t have much time to raise the money. They are at a remarkable 7.23 million dollars right now. To me it would be a horrible shame to let this little slice of history be destroyed. I feel like it is so uncharacteristic of this nation to forget the efforts of our heroes in any area of American life. It is my hope that this historic landmark can be saved, so that our children, and our children’s children can see what can be accomplished when we work together. More information on this can be found at Save The Willow Run Bomber Plant.