Rosie the Riveters to be honored at Veteran’s Day Parade
Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 1, 2014
In remembrance of Veteran’s Day, the Navy Junior ROTC and the Mississippi Coast Watchers will sponsor a parade featuring war veterans, antique military vehicles and former Rosie the Riveters.
“I thought it would be good to include the women who worked in the factories to produce our weapons during the war, “ said local veteran and Mississippi Coast Watchers member Bill Beacht.
The parade will begin near the Picayune Career and Technology Center on Goodyear Boulevard on Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. The route will proceed down Goodyear Boulevard and across the railroad tracks to Highway 11. From Highway 11, the route will divert right onto West Canal Street. The parade will stay on West Canal until it turns into Kirkland Street, which circles back to Picayune Memorial High School on Goodyear Boulevard.
Beacht is looking for more local women to ride in the parade who worked in the factories or performed any other job during the war. The ladies will ride in a special antique military vehicle to be honored for their vital role in the United States’ victory.
Beacht refers to the role these women played by filling the massive void in the workforce left after the large number of male enlistments in the military. With the men fighting a war abroad, the labor force at home struggled. American women responded by going to work in a variety of fields, especially the aviation industry. According to History.com, the U.S. aircraft industry consisted of one percent female employees in the pre-war years. By 1943, that number had skyrocketed to 65 percent, with more than 310,000 women joining the industry. Between riveting airplanes and electrical circuitry, these women participated in a number of duties seen as unconventional for females at the time.
The United States government’s “Rosie the Riveter” propaganda campaign encouraged women to join the munitions industry as well as the armed forces. Some women who had pilot licenses became the first females to pilot military aircrafts. These Women’s Air-Force Service Pilots were called WASPSs for short, and they performed a variety of duties including transporting cargo, according to History.com. More than 1,000 women participated in this role, and 38 of them lost their lives.
In total, History.com states that the number of women in the workforce ballooned from 27 percent to 37 percent from 1940 through 1945. This Veteran’s Day, Beacht and the Mississippi Coast Watchers encourage the public to line the streets in honor of the men and women who served in the military.
Any local women who worked in a factory during World War II should call Beacht at 601-916-1280 before the Nov. 8 deadline if they wish to ride in the parade.