Letters, Comments and Testimonials
A Letter to the Editor
Written by Mary Lou Maroney, a Rosie from Charleston West Virginia
Publsihed in the Charleston Gazette, Oct 19, 2009
I am a West Virginia "Rosie the Riveter," and I am very proud of my contribution to the building of aircraft that were so necessary to the protection of the free world during World War II.
Until last summer, I did not see that people were really aware of the value of the work of Rosies like me. Then in July, I attended a discussion held by Thanks! Plain and Simple, a nonprofit organization, abut their plans to gather the stories of West Virginia Rosie the Riveters statewide.
Since then, Thanks! Plain and Simple has arranged for me to meet other Rosies, tell my story on videotape and meet with a member of Congress. Your newspaper has given me and another Rosie, Garnet Kozielec, a smiley face. I plan a trip to the Eastern Panhandle where Rosies will be honored. People have contacted me far and wide about my contribution.
Thanks! Plain and Simple recently held a first gathering of West Virginia Rosie the Riveters and their families. We Rosies told our stories and saw a short video of work in progress. The day not only showed respect for our contribution to America, but also showed respect to West Virginia women.
This recognition makes a difference to me and other Rosies. Our legacy for future generations should count. The organization hopes to have a statewide collection of our stories by next year and a documentary by the spring of 2011, but there is a lot of work to do.
I thank your newspaper for good coverage. Anne Montague holds up the ad that ran in the March 29 edition as the first real action to get the Rosie the Riveter work started.
I also ask West Virginians everywhere to help Thanks! Plain and Simple capture the stories of West Virginia Rosies in this late time of our lives. We are a state that can lead when our people have a way to proudly show our authenticity, including what West Virginians have done and can do.
Thanks! Plain and Simple has been contacted by 90 women since your ad first appeared in March. We assume there are at least 100 who will share their stories. Multiply that by an average age of 85 years, that gives 85,000 years of experience of West Virginia Rosies who are ready to serve this very special state in this very special nation by telling who we are and what we have done.
Mary Lou Maroney
A Letter to the Editor
Written by Betty Monnig, about her aunt, Elsie Kelly, a Rosie who passed away before she could share her stories.
Publsihed in the Charleston Gazette, Aug 28, 2009 under the heading 'Rosies' need to be remembered
In response to your Aug. 22 article, "Thanks, Rosie! Plain and Simple," my thought went immediate to my aunt, Elsie Kelly, who left West Virginia to work in Akron, Ohio, in 1944. She remained proud of this work during World War II her entire life.
I am relieved that Thanks! Plain and Simple is capturing the stories of West Virginia "Rosies." It's about time our state recognized that our women had a clear impact "on the home front" in that dark, historic time when so much had to be done and sacrificed for survival. It was a time that changed the world, and women like my aunt were the mainstay at home.
She riveted the F4U Corsair fighter planes for Goodyear when she was in her late 20s. Her daughter, Marilyn, has written about her, but we know little about her work as a "Rosie."
How I wish she had been interviewed while she was still living! If only we had a CD or DVD of her telling about doing "a man's job," and doing it well. She often said this experience made her more confident and independent. To illustrate, after she retired, she was "a one-of-a-kind woman" who went to college for several years.
In memory of Elsie Kelly McGraw Kornowski, who was born in Clay County and died last April, I am donating $100 to Thanks! Plain and Simple. As they strive to collect stories of our West Virginia "Rosies" before these women are gone, they also train a young Iraq war combat veteran to learn to contribute to people at home. My Aunt Elsie would have been proud to participate in this work to show what we have learned to the future.
"The Rosie the Riveter Project" is a rare opportunity for West Virginians to unite around our strengths. By recognizing the character and value of these women, including those no longer with us, West Virginians are making a statement for our worth as Americans who sincerely care about our country and its deepest principles.
Letter sent by Jan Matthysen, Embassador of Belgium, to the people of West Virginia