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Rosie the Riveters ring in Labor Day

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As many Romans took Labor Day off to mark the holiday with barbecue or hot dogs, a handful of strong-willed women, five local Rosie the Riveters, gathered at Richard B. Russell Airport Monday afternoon to celebrate the role women played in the labor force during World War II.

Nellie Woodall, Bettianne Harris, Joy Mitchell, Jane Tucker and Mary McJunkin met at the new Rosie the Riveter Memorial Garden to ring bells with their sisters all over the country at 1 p.m. Monday.

Each of the women played important roles during the war. Woodall worked at Bell Bomber in Marietta, helping build B-29 bombers during the war. Tucker was a welder in the shipyards at Savannah, Mitchell served the wounded at Battery General Hospital here in Rome. Harris worked in LaGrange helping the American Red Cross and McJunkin worked at an aircraft plant in California.

Each of the women was armed with a bell of some variety, some with more significance than others. Tucker had an old bell that has been handed down for well over a century while Harris had a tiny bell that has been passed through generations of educators in the Rome area.

The local celebration Monday occurred at the Rosie the Riveter Garden, first planted in March of this year in front of the Museum of Flight. Several of the old war birds that are still flying and used during special events by the museum were actually constructed by Rosie's during the war.