On Monday afternoon, Rome residents will gather at the Town Green to rededicate a garden. But it’s not just any garden. This one honors the women who helped win a war.
The event is called “Ring a Bell for Rosie” and its purpose is two-fold. It will recognize local Rosie the Riveters and it will also remember Rosies who are no longer with us.
Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military.
Selena Tilly, director of the Rome History Center, said the Rosie Garden was moved from its previous location at the Museum of Flight to its new location behind the Rome Area History Center and just outside the Forum River Center.
“We moved it at the request of the Rome Rosie the Riveter Club,” she said. “It’s just outside the back of the history center so when we do tours of the museum we take visitors outside and show them the kiosk and the garden and explain how important Rosie the Riveters were.”
Tilly said Rosies’ roles during WWII were basically to fill the positions formerly held by men who were now fighting in the war. Women now took jobs in the manufacturing industry riveting airplanes and ships, she said. Others rolled bandages for medics on the front lines.
“You also had Rosies who worked here at Battey State Hospital who took care of sick and injured soldiers,” Tilly said. “They did a number of different jobs. One Rosie in Rome was a codebreaker. Her job was to break enemy codes during the war. If it hadn’t been for the Rosies the war might have turned out a lot differently.”
“They were the reason we had ammunition, ships, tanks and airplanes,” she added. “They were the backbone of war effort production. We owe the Rosies a lot. We really do.”
The Ring a Bell for Rosie dedication will take place Monday starting at 1 p.m. at the Rosie Garden behind the Rome Area History Center and in front of the Forum River Center. The public is invited to attend.