The dedication of a memorial garden at 11 a.m. will kick off a host of free activities Saturday to mark Rosie the Riveter Day at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport.
“We want families to come, aunts and uncles and grandparents and everybody else to come out and learn about the Rosies,” said Ginny Word, representing the Rome chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association.
Word said that there are about 20 Rosies in the area and a number of them — in their 90s now — will be at the airport to share their stories with visitors.
“They did jobs the men left behind when they went off to fight in World War II,” she told the Floyd County Commission before a proclamation naming Saturday as Rosie the Riveter Day.
The Rome City Commission also issued a proclamation, and some of the Rosies were on hand each night to accept the honors.
Jane Tucker helped weld warships; Mary McJunkin worked in an airplane factory; Louvinia Jordan served as a codebreaker; Joy Mitchell was an administrator at Rome’s Battey General Hospital, tending to injured soldiers and prisoners of war; and Betty Ann Ware Harris, the youngest, rolled bandages as a teen.
“Sixteen million women around the country stepped up and kept the home fires burning and the munitions flowing. ... Without them, the war effort would have suffered,” Word said.
During the celebration at the airport, kids can learn how to roll bandages at one of the stations, and the Floyd County 4H Club will have their LEGO project on display.
The Museum of Flight will be spotlighting one of its WWII planes that the Rosies worked on, and visitors can try their hand at a little wrenching.
More than 50 Girl Scouts are expected to earn their Rosie the Riveter badges. There also will be Rosie re-enactors and boogie-woogie music by the GI Jive. At least one food truck will be on site for the festivities, which will run through 2 p.m.
Word said the Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden was established last year as part of a national initiative that aims to have one in every Congressional district before the 75th anniversary of WWII in 2020. They’re planted with roses bred especially for the project.
“They’re hardy and vibrant and strong and smell nice while doing it. Just like the Rosies,” she said.
This year a reader board with the history will be unveiled in the garden at 11 a.m. and TigerFlight plans a flyover at about 11:30 a.m. to honor the occasion.
The American Rosie the Riveter Association has three chapters in Georgia: in Atlanta, Columbus and Rome.