WVWC joins Rosie the Riveter movement

BUCKHANNON — West Virginia Wesleyan College joined the movement to “Ring a Bell for Rosies” on Friday, honoring all the women who answered the call to serve their country on the home front during World War II.

For the last five years, non-profit organization “Thanks! Plain and Simple” has worked to fill the air with ringing bells in towns across the United States to honor Rosie the Riveters, recognizing their leadership and giving thanks to those who are still living.

“In today’s politically and culturally torn society, it is a wonderful message,” said Dr. Katharine Antolini, chair of the WVWC history department. “These women are so humble. You ask them why they took on these different jobs and they simply answer, ‘Because our country asked us to; we were needed.’ It is only later that these women have come to recognize themselves as role models for the generations of women who came after them. They were an example of women’s significance in the labor force.”

Wesleyan rang its bells in honor of West Virginia Rosies Ruth Edwards and Anna Hess on Friday afternoon. Edwards worked for Carnegie Illinois Steel Corporation in Charleston, while Hess traveled to Akron, Ohio to work in the tire industry. Both women, well into their 90s, are still active in the Rosie the Riveter movement and reportedly joined the celebration in Washington, D.C. The organization also gave a nod to Mary Doris Brooks who was a commissioned officer (nurse) in WWII and her family resides in Buckhannon.

Edwards expressed, “We know what people can do when we pull together to do quality work to face big problems. We like to be called ‘Rosies’ for two reasons—first, most of us were not riveters; second, ‘Rosie’ means positive. We Rosies proved that being positive and realistic is possible, and it works.”

“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. “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.”

If you’d like to join the movement and missed Friday’s celebration at WVWC, other nearby cities will Ring a Bell for Rosies on Monday, September 6. Elkins will host a celebration from 12-1 p.m. at the Rotary Amphitheater in Elkins Town Square behind the train depot to recognize Rosies and others who contributed to preserving the freedom of our nation.

Folks will also gather at the Morgantown Fire Station on High Street at 12:15 p.m. on Monday 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 from Washington, DC to the Netherlands over the Labor Day weekend.

For even more learning and fun, interested parties can visit the Rosie the Riveter exhibit at the Elkins Randolph County Library that will be open until September 11. While visiting the exhibit, take time to stop by the Elkins Sewing Center to see their interesting window display.

Thanks to all the Rosies of the country for working so diligently to contribute to the preservation of our freedom!


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