"We Pull Together"
Rosie the Riveter Then and Now
A film by B. J. Gudmundsson
"The wartime, now, almost seems like a dream. Because when I think of some of things we did, I don’t know if we could repeat it today or not."
Mary Ann Kniska Diamond had just graduated from high school in Clarksburg, WV, when the United States entered World War II. She went to Akron, Ohio and landed a job on the Women’s Squadron at Goodyear Aircraft, which was building the F6F Corsair.
"It was a small plane with just room for two people, a pilot and co-pilot. It was very maneuverable and could do almost anything. Most of them were sent to the Pacific."
Mary Ann was born in 1922. She still lives in West Virginia. She joins 32 other Rosie the Riveters in a new documentary film "We Pull Together" which will debut in West Virginia in June 2011.
"We Pull Together – Rosie the Riveter Then and Now" is written, produced and directed by award-winning West Virginia filmmaker, B.J. Gudmundsson. The 90-minute film brings to life the personal stories of women who were employed in factories and facilities across the country as the nation struggled to replace a male work force that had been called into service to fight the war.
Thousands of women were recruited to apply for these jobs. They were encouraged to learn new skills and to do men's work. Most of them worked far from home in order to supply aircraft, ammunition and other necessary materials needed by the armed services overseas.
History has long referred to these women workers as "Rosie the Riveter." And they did indeed drive and buck rivets. They also operated machinery, inspected parts, trained pilots, harvested farm crops and made rockets. Their work opened the nation’s eyes regarding a woman's role in society. Their film reveals an important reason for their sacrifice. They loved their country and they believed that by doing a good job they would help to win the war and bring their men home.
Drawing from miles of video footage, Gudmundsson takes the Rosie story a step further as she follows her subjects into the here and now. She shows that the film's Rosies, now in their late 80's and early 90's, are actively engaged in the work of preserving their legacy and in telling their story their own way.
"The sacrifice that our women made during the war goes far beyond our image of Rosie the Riveter. While they were working their brothers, boyfriends and husbands were on the front lines of a terrible war. When they came home a lot had changed. I hope that this film helps us to understand more about the human spirit. I know that making this film has taught me a lot about being a woman." (B.J. Gudmundsson)
B. J. Gudmundsson was awarded West Virginia Filmmaker of the Year in 2005 by the WV Filmmakers Guild and the WV Film Office. "We Pull Together" is her 17th documentary film. Gudmundsson lives and works in Pocahontas County.
The film is sponsored by Thanks! Plain and Simple, a Charleston-based non-profit organization whose mission is to unify the people of West Virginia around the well-being of our soldiers and veterans, and to guide veterans to contribute at home.
Major funding has been provided by a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.
Written, produced and directed by B. J. Gudmundsson
Executive Director – Anne Montegue
Videographer – Tijah Bumgarner
Interviewer/Lead Veteran – John Houlette
Theme Song: "Rosie’s Song" written and performed by Clinton Collins
The documentary’s official premiere is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 28 at Charleston’s Capitol Theatre.