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Guest Blog: "How to Support the National Memorial to Women Who Worked on the Homefront"

In 2020 I had the privilege of making a connection with Raya, founder of the National Memorial to Women Who Worked on the Homefront. I'm delighted to have Raya accept our invitation to write a "Guest Blog" for Flea Market Love Letters on her motivations and goals for this much needed women's memorial. You can find the project on Twitter and Instagram. Raya gladly accepts emails and inquiries to info@whfnmf.org.


This is not a quick or easy process, but it's an important one. Having grown up in Washington, DC--and being on the National Mall regularly--it appears as though women did not exist in our nation’s history. Not only did these women exist, if it weren’t for them we likely would not have won WWII. They opened doors and paved the way for millions of women who have followed in their footsteps. They should be recognized in our nation’s capital. I want the 'Rosies' to know we are working on their behalf, and to thank them for their service and for paving the way for future generations of women.


This memorial endeavor began 8 years ago when I was but a knobby-kneed 10-year-old girl instilled with a deep passion for history and good stories spotlighting strong and feisty girls; Anne of Green Gables and Pippy Longstocking were my (s)heroes.

I was given a school assignment to build a model monument to someone or something that hadn’t been recognized in Washington, DC. I had just watched A League of Their Own, a film about the women baseball players during WWII. Watching women sliding from base to base and jumping to catch fly balls — in dresses and lipstick no less! — caused my eyes to become the size of saucers and my mom literally had to remind me to blink. I became obsessed with these women, and drove my parents crazy using the iconic line, 'There’s no crying in baseball!' whenever I could find a seemingly fitting (and not-so fitting) opportunity.




"Example[s] of some recruitment posters that were put out in order to get women to apply for jobs that desperately needed filled during WWII."

I had a newly found passion for the 'Rosies,' which inevitably raised questions. Lots of questions. Who were these women who worked during the war, filling in the jobs the men off fighting could no longer occupy?


"Example[s] of some recruitment posters that were put out in order to get women to apply for jobs that desperately needed filled during WWII."

As I delved into my research, I learned there were over 18 million civilian women who worked on the home front. Typically, when people think about these women, they envision the 'We can do it!' poster with Rosie the Riveter proudly flexing her arm. However, the women who worked were far more than just factory workers: They were coders, pilots, lumberjacks, taxi drivers, engineers, and mail carriers, among many other jobs. Further, I was gobsmacked to learn that women hadn’t always had the opportunity to occupy these jobs.




"From riveting planes during WWII to being on the presidential ballot! What would the workforce look like without the women of color who worked on the home front and opened doors to those who came generations after them? Thank you for paving the way."

Since no monument in our nation’s capital existed to commemorate their dedication and contributions to the war effort, and I strongly felt they had opened doors for my generation, I chose to build my model monument to them. My teacher liked it and said, 'This is great! You should try to get this built.' So I did.

For years I sent out letters and emails to garner support for the idea, then in 2016, I received a lovely and encouraging response from the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument inviting me to present my model at their open house in coordination with the National Park Service's 100th-anniversary celebration. Everyone in attendance was incredibly supportive and administrators for the National Park Service said my design is what they look for in memorials and encouraged me to keep trying to get it built, suggesting I reach out to my representative, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton. Representative Holmes Norton generously took a meeting with me; somehow I got through my presentation with my trembling hands and jello legs. She was incredibly supportive and agreed to draft and introduce legislation for this bill, one of the 24 steps necessary for “Establishing A Memorial in the Nation’s Capital”. Another of the 24 steps is creating a “sponsor group” in order to introduce the legislation, and so was formed a 501(c)(3), establishing my non-profit organization, the National Memorial to the Women Who Worked on the Home Front Foundation.

On March 12 of 2020, Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the Senate’s bipartisan companion legislation to establish the memorial.



"Our bill would authorize our foundation, the Women Who Worked on the Home Front Foundation, to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs, and for other purposes."


On October 1, 2020, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 5068, the Women Who Worked on the Home Front World War II Memorial Act. While we are still waiting for it to be formally reviewed by committee, hopes are up!"

Currently we are collecting stories of the women workers of WWII. If any of you readers know a Rosie or are related to one, we’d be more than happy to accept biographies for our Stories page on our website! Here’s the link: https://wwiiwomenmemorial.org/send-your-story





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