Morgantown, WV – Local residents will gather at the Morgantown Fire Station on High Street at 12:15 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 6th, Labor Day to recognize and give thanks for the contributions of women who supported the World War II effort as “Rosie the Riveters.” They will be joined by Rosie enthusiasts worldwide in ringing bells at various locations (Washington DC, Philadelphia, the Netherlands) over the Labor Day weekend.
“Time is running out to learn from the American women who worked in U.S. factories to support the war effort,” said Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, who will emcee the event.
Featured speaker at the event will be local Rosie the Riveter, Anna Hess. One of the youngest living Rosies, Anna Hess, turned 93 this month.
“I was 15 when my parents moved from Roane County to work in the factories in Akron Ohio,” said Hess.
Hess worked in a factory that made tires for tanks and trucks for the war effort, moving after the war with her husband to his hometown of Morgantown to raise their family. Hess’ husband Frank was a Morgantown firefighter. Helping to plan the bell-ringing ceremony in 2018, she noticed that the bell which used to be in front of the Spruce Street fire station where her husband worked, had been moved to the South High Street station. After inquiring about the bell, Morgantown firefighters enthusiastically joined in the effort to honor the widow of one of their former members
“We are delighted, once again, to honor these women who stepped up when our country really needed them,” said Eugene Deem, Morgantown Fire Department Chief.
Delegate Fleischauer will read a written statement provided by Jean Malone, a Rosie who now lives in Kingwood and is 99 and ½ years young. Jean worked as a welder on Neville Island near Pittsburgh, helping to build the landing craft that were used in the D-Day invasion. Her statement, written to her grand-daughters, will share what she thinks young girls need to know about the contributions of the Rosie the Riveters.
“Ringing bells is a simple, powerful, positive way for people to do something meaningful in unity, just as Rosies did in World War II,” said Anne Montague, founder of Thanks Plain and Simple!, a nonprofit organization that works to recognize the leadership of Rosies and give thanks to those who are still living.
“Rosies helped shorten the war, accepting the challenge of performing jobs traditionally done by men. Not every Rosie riveted airplanes. Rosies also worked on farms, in factories, and in shipbuilding,” Ms. Montague added.
Morgantown City Councilor Ixya Vega will share greetings from the City of Morgantown. Local local Girl Scouts will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and provide refreshments. The event is free and open to the public. Off street parking is available at the Monongalia County Board of Education offices located at 13 South High Street.