Published in 2019, Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn in WWII by Robert Matzen is a painstakingly researched and ultimately heartbreaking account of the future Hollywood star's formative years in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation during WWII.
March 21, 2019 is on track to be declared National Rosie the Riveter Day! This will be the third year in a row that Congress has honored the women workers of WWII with their own special day. The purpose of the day, which will take place during Women’s History Month, is to acknowledge the important role… Continue reading National Rosie the Riveter Day – The Full Story!
How and When did the “We Can Do It!” Poster Become Famous? Although many sites and sources describe J. Howard Miller’s famous WWII-era “We Can Do It!” poster as government propaganda exhorting women to join the industrial workforce, seen by Americans everywhere, it was in fact neither. This poster was actually seen by very few… Continue reading “We Can Do It!” – The Making of an Icon
I'm a proud member of the American Rosie the Riveter Association, a national organization founded in 1992 to provide fellowship for and preserve the legacy of the original WWII Rosies. Our Annual Convention draws World War II Rosies and their descendants and friends from just about every state. This year the convention was held in… Continue reading New Orleans, Here Come the Rosies!
[UPDATE Naomi Parker Fraley passed away in January of 2018. We miss her so much.] What if I told you the "real" Rosie the Riveter was alive and well and living in California? Meet Naomi Parker Fraley, over 90 years young! She is the real inspiration behind the famous "We Can Do It!" WWII poster.… Continue reading Naomi Parker Fraley, The Original “We Can Do It!” Gal
Some of you may be familiar with the 1980 country classic "Willow Run" by Detroit-born country star Randy Barlow... one of many Barlow recordings that made the Billboard charts. The original lyrics are touching and describe the heartfelt wish of a line-worker father for a more choices in life for his son. Now that the good line jobs are drying up as… Continue reading Willow Run: A Country Music Classic Gets The Lyrics It Deserves
There are many rumors around town about why Ford's Willow Run WWII B-24 assembly line takes a 90-degree turn at the end, enabling the finished bombers to exit the plant on the Washtenaw side of the county line… but here's the real story! A look at the map reveals that the old bomber plant lies snug up against the… Continue reading Willow Run: The Story Behind Henry Ford’s “Tax Turn”
Tonight I had the honor of meeting Paul, a lifelong Ann Arbor resident and former Marine who served in the Pacific Theater in WWII. He joined the Marines in 1942 at age 22, which would make him 93. Prior to that, he worked for the City, and he was responsible for clearing Stadium Avenue so… Continue reading Celebrating Veterans Day with a WWII Vet
One of my favorite people that I've never met, Elinor Otto, celebrated her 94th birthday last Saturday, while at the same time, on the other side of the country, we were meeting and talking with real Willow Run Rosies at the Arsenal of Democracy Conference and Willow Run Open House. Mrs. Otto has been recently… Continue reading Real Rosie Elinor Otto Celebrates Birthday, Still Riveting at 94
At the Arsenal of Democracy conference at Willow Run, I met a man who had worked in the skilled trades at the Ford River Rouge complex, and had been apprenticed to an older man, after the war. One day they were talking about World War II, and he asked the older man, where had he… Continue reading Skilled Workers Served in WWII at Ford’s River Rouge Plant
Holy cow, I got to be a fly on the wall while real WWII Rosie the Riveters met and chatted about the Willow Run Bomber Plant. The first thing they asked each other was, what section were you in? The answers were rapid-fire... "9-24," said Vivian. "9-46," said Frances. And this would not be the… Continue reading Two Real Rosie the Riveters Meet!
We were delighted to discover real, elderly Rosie the Riveter Frances attending the Open House at the Willow Run Bomber Plant that followed the Arsenal of Democracy Conference. Frances, who is 91, worked at the plant during WWII, making B-24 Liberator bombers on the assembly line. She lived in Detroit at the time, and… Continue reading A Real Rosie the Riveter
It's always a special pleasure to meet a real, live Rosie the Riveter, and we were delighted to discover Margaret attending the Arsenal of Democracy Conference. Margaret, who will be 89 this November, worked in the blueprints department of the Willow Run Bomber Plant during World War II. She told us that she had… Continue reading Real Rosie the Riveter Has B-24 Blueprint
At today's Arsenal of Democracy Conference at Yankee Air Museum, I had the pleasure of sharing a lunch table with Chester and Jim. Jim, at right, is a World War II veteran, who was training as a pilot to fly the B-25 Mitchell (a two engine bomber—the Yankee Air Museum owns and maintains a flyable… Continue reading WWII Veteran and a Man Who Was a Boy in Germany During WWII Attend Arsenal of Democracy Conference
After today's Arsenal of Democracy Conference at the Yankee Air Museum, the public was given an opportunity to step inside the Willow Run Bomber Plant to see it one last time before most of it is demolished to make way for a connected-vehicle test facility. It was also announced today that demolition would be configured… Continue reading A Gentleman Who Worked at Willow Run With the Rosies
Miles creates beautiful drawings to help save the Willow Run Bomber Plant. This is Miles. He's 11, and he loves the Willow Run Bomber Plant. The Rosies heard about him when we were talking with tailgaters at a recent U of M football game. But we had no way to find him. Fortunately, he and… Continue reading 11 Year Old Boy Draws Bombers to Save Willow Run
Mr. Homer Hinchliff, whose father was a USAAF B-24 pilot, and attended the grand opening of the Willow Run Bomber Plant. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Homer Hinchliff of Willis, Michigan at the Orphan Car Show in Ypsilanti. Mr. Hinchliff says his dad, Lt. Col. Edward Hinchliff, was present during the 1940s at… Continue reading Willow Run Grand Opening Part I: a B-24 Bomber Flies up from Smyrna, TN
And you thought snakes were bad! Another great story from Mr. Homer Hinchliff of Willis, MI. Homer's father, Lt. Col. Edward Hinchliff, with his B-24 Liberator bomber, was present at the Grand Opening of the Willow Run Bomber Plant. But this story is about what happened after the war. Lt. Col. Hinchliff was on his… Continue reading Willow Run Grand Opening Part 2: Rats on a Plane!
World War One Aviator Eddie Rickenbacker meeting with Little People at Ford Motor Company's Willow Run Bomber Plant during WWII. Photo courtesy of TheHenryFord. I dressed as Rosie the Riveter today at the Orphan Car Show to benefit the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum (another treasure from Ypsilanti's distinguished industrial past.) And, as usual, I met… Continue reading Little People at the Willow Run Bomber Plant
A wonderful group of people got together to help the Willow Run Rosies make this video. Rosie Jane Vass was the producer and choreographer, and featured in the video are several of Yankee Air Museum's "Tribute" Rosies. The star of the video is Original WWII "Rosie" Ruth Pierson-Webb of Wayne, MI who worked at the… Continue reading Willow Run Rosies Make a Video