Open Forum: The Women of WWII

Posted: July 2, 2013

Soon we will be celebrating July 4, Independence Day, and, in so doing, honoring all those brave men and women who fought and who died to give us this magnificent country in which we live. And it is only right that we do so.

It is right that we remember the heroes who fought at Bunker Hill, who defeated the British at Yorktown, and who stood with our own Daniel Morgan at Cowpens.

Heroes who followed Teddy Roosevelt up San Juan Hill, who fought on the fields of Flanders and who landed on Omaha Beach.

Men and women who fought in the jungles of Vietnam and in the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan. Heroes all.

Yes, we are proud of our men and women in uniform and honor their deeds. But there is one who we may have forgotten — Rosie the Riveter. Without Rosie, we might well have lost World War II.

The Japanese soldiers, sailors, and airmen were brave warriors, but they lacked two things: sufficient reinforcements and replacement weapons. They simply ran out of the resources necessary to win a war. And they lost.

The same is true of the Germans. By the end of the war, they were drafting teenagers into the army to try and stop our dominant forces. And they failed. Their limited number of Luftwaffe pilots and fighter planes were simply overwhelmed with the number of American and British bombers which they faced on a daily basis. And they too failed.

Their Tiger tanks were better than our Sherman tanks, but they had too few of them. Germany faced the same fate as the Japanese. They simply ran out of the men and materials needed to win. And they lost.

Britain and Russia faced the same dilemma early in the war but survived, thanks to our Lend/Lease policy.

So, how did we manage to win the war? Good question. Could it be that we simply out-produced the enemy, thanks to a lady named Rosie the Riveter? Perhaps.

It was the women of this country who grew the food, made the jeep tires, built the ships and airplanes and tanks and mothered the young men which our armed forces so desperately needed. It was Rosie who manned the machines in the factories, drove the farm tractors, made the uniforms, and did a thousand other jobs. Without Rosie we too could have lost.

So where is Rosie’s Medal of Honor? She never got one, but she surely deserved one.

Unless you lived in the first half of the 1940s, you probably have never heard of Rosie the Riveter, but believe me, she was real and she was a heroine. And without her, we might not be living in this land of liberty which we so cherish today.

So come July 4, let us not forget Rosie the Riveter and all those millions of other wonderful women who were homefront heroines. Thanks ladies, we owe you much and God bless. you.

Jack Lillis is a resident of Frederick County.