Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bridges Between -- February 2009


RuneE is sponsoring this monthly challenge on the first Monday of every month. Bridges Between is subject to open interpretation.

CLICK on to enlarge to see detail better.

On a recent trip to the Columbia River waterfront, I discovered our city had a new piece of art. . . "Rosie the Riveter."

"Following the United States' entry into World War II in 1941, millions of American women answered the government's call to enter the work force and fill traditionally male jobs left vacant by those who had gone off to fight. Above all, women's labor was urgently needed to help fill shortages created by the expanded wartime economy, especially in the production of military hardware. These women who wore hard-hats and overalls and operated heavy machinery represented a radical departure from the traditional American feminine ideal of housewife and mother." (resource: internet}

Now a short sidenote before I get to the main photos. . . These wall paintings are done on a railroad wall beneath the tracks that cross above. They represent the women who built the ships at Kaiser Shipyards here in Vancouver. They tie in with my story and other photos as you will see my "bridges between" emerge..



In 1942, a popular song about a patriotic female defense worker called Rosie the Riveter provided the name that became synonymous with this new kind of American woman. Here are the words"

Rosie the Riveter

All the day long,
Whether rain or shine,
She's a part of the assembly line.
She's making history,
Working for victory,
Rosie the Riveter.
Keeps a sharp lookout for sabotage,
Sitting up there on the fuselage.
That little girl will do more than a male will do.
Rosie's got a boyfriend, Charlie.
Charlie, he's a Marine.
Rosie is protecting Charlie,
Working overtime on the riveting machine
When they gave her a production "E",
She was as proud as she could be,
There's something true about,
Red, white, and blue about,
Rosie the Riveter.


Since we, in Vancouver, had one of the 5 Kaiser shipyards -- The other nearby was across the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon -- and the remaining 3 near Richmond, California, it was appropriate that we erect a memorial to "her" in Vancouver.

Recently, I discovered IT! Erected in "her" honor on one of our walkways along the Columbia River, it stands proudly to proclaim the importance of women who became the bridge to building ships for the war effort.




It was hard to get a great photo so I took many, hoping my readers could get the gist of it and recall the importance of women during the World War 2 and our shipbuilding efforts at Kaiser shipyard here. These are more closeups of the different sides.

**********Here's the story from our local newspaper:
"Not far from where her name is etched into a riverfront art display, Dorothy Rivoli helped make history.

More specifically, she helped make ships. Rivoli was one of thousands of people drawn to Vancouver more than 60 years ago by jobs at the Kaiser Shipyard.

Their part in winning World War II has been honored by “Wendy Rose,” an 11-foot sculpture that salutes the workers who turned steel plates into troop ships and aircraft carriers.

Rivoli made her contribution working with templates, providing an outline on those steel plates so the next workers on the production line would know where to cut.

“It was a lot like sewing. The template was the pattern we laid over the steel. We chalked it out, and they burned it,” Rivoli said.

The stainless steel sculpture portrays a woman with a welding hood in a basket at her feet. Wendy Rose is supplemented by smaller steel sculptures that represents other aspects of wartime life in Vancouver, including a ship, a house and the Kiggins Theater.

“It makes me proud,” Rivoli said, and she echoed a classic film from that era in calling herself “Dorothy from Kansas.”

“I was able to help my country in my small way,” Rivoli said.

Other members of her family gave everything. As she visited the sculpture recently, Rivoli was wearing two stars on the lapel of her red jacket.

“I lost two brothers in the war,” Rivoli said. One was a sailor who died in the Pacific on the aircraft carrier USS Hornet; the other was a Marine killed at Iwo Jima.

The sculpture was created by a local group of artists known collectively as Women Who Weld. It was dedicated a month ago at the James and Joyce Harder Memorial Plaza along the riverfront trail, just a few yards east of Beaches Restaurant.

Two stone columns that flank Wendy Rose list the names of about 90 former shipyard workers — including Rivoli — who contributed to the sculpture fundraising effort.

Wendy Rose becomes the latest in a cluster of sculptures along the Columbia River that combine art and history. But Wendy Rose can summon up a lot of other history lessons, too, through the voices of the people it honors. People such as Dorothy Rivoli, who watched a first lady launch an aircraft carrier, the USS Alazon Bay.

“I was on the stage when Eleanor Roosevelt christened it. I was there because I’d worked on it,” said Rivoli.

The neighborhood sure looks different now, Rivoli said. About the only thing left is the Columbia River itself. And she can still remember the impression it made 65 years ago: “It was quite a change from Kansas.”
This represents the Kiggins Theater which is over 100 years old.
In this basket is her helmet she wore when welding.
This represents the ships they built.
This represents placing the ships into the Columbia River to begin their mission.
This represents their homes.

Thus, my  "bridge" is remembering the women who stepped up to build the needed ships during the Great War when the men were off serving our country on some of these very ships the women built!

12 comments:

SandyCarlson said...

Those are amazing. They capture the spirit of Rosie as I understood her. I guess I got it a little bit right!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Wonderful post! So there really is a Rosie the Riveter. ;-) Neat sculpture.

Katney said...

I like her. I hope to see her in person some time.

Lew said...

Great post! And a beautiful tribute to the women of World War II era who did much of the work to supply our fighting forces with ships, tanks, guns, etc., etc.

RuneE said...

It was pleasure to read about this Bridge in History. If anything good can say to have emerged from the two World Wars, it must be the influence it had in the emancipation of women around the world. It is important to remember the work they did - and still do.

RuneE said...

Me again I forgot to add that my Odd shot will be up a little later

Lene said...

Great story, great woman and great post :)

Malyss said...

I knew Rosie the Riveter.Her picture is a symbol of the women who worked during the WW2 and also a symbol of all women who fight to become independant and to work outside of home.I have a picture of her at home, where there is written :"we can do it".But I knew her only as a picture, or a symbol. It's moving to know that there is a "real" one, and that there is a monument in memory of her and all the women that worked like her. A very rich post, Paulie!

Anne-Berit said...

Oh my gosh,That`s an interesting post.Great photos!

John said...

Very nice and interesting bride posting.

A. said...

Wonderful sculptures, excellent story, and I love your interpretation!

Love Bears All Things said...

This was a g reat interpretation and I think the sculpture is beautiful.
Mama Bear

About Me

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WELCOME to my blog. I hope you will return often.

I am on my third digital camera, all Olympus. I enjoy using it and sharing my photos. I also enjoy writing. I hope to share a little of each on this blog. My main blog is Postcards From the Northwest.

Kerri and I will continue to add benches to "For the Love of Benches Continued . . . " blog also. It is good to continue to share with her!

Continuation of the Kiggins House Re-model photos were lost when my computer crashed.

The latest city project, TURTLE PLACE, will unfold here as I have time to add photos. It is complete and maybe I can find enough photos someday to show you the final results. Next project after the two I am working on now. . .

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