Rosie the Riveter legacy lives on in Maryland

BRUNSWICK, Md. (WJLA) – In the historic railroading town of Brunswick, bluebird nesting houses will soon be everywhere. They’re being installed to honor the millions of women who became 'Rosie the Riveter' during World War II.

"I got a job as a junior draftswoman," says Paula Abelow.

"I became a Red Cross volunteer nurse's aide," says Dorothy Davenport.

"I worked in industrial engineering," adds Gloria McCormick.

Meanwhile, Crena Anderson shot rivet guns.

"My muscles got so big I couldn't wear a dress or blouse with short-sleeves because I was ashamed," she says.

"We figured we were helping the war effort," explains Ruth Staples. "The men weren't there, we figured we could help out at home."

The Rosies say that awareness of their contributions to the war effort has faded over time.

"Nowadays, children wouldn't know about it unless we talked about it," says Paula.

But the bluebird houses in addition to new parks and trails being built in their honor will help make sure that no one forgets.

"Of course they will die out, and it's up to us to make sure their legacy is valid and passed on to the future," says Anne Montague, Executive Director of Thanks! Plain and Simple, Inc. It's a non-profit that creates community projects to help strengthen Americans.

Montague launched the initiative. Her mother was a Rosie, and she chose to focus on bluebirds because they symbolized hope during the war. But the bluebird population is slowly disappearing – just like the Rosies.

"The bluebirds are fading and need man's help; Rosies are definitely fading and needing people's help," she says.

And although unexpected, the Rosies say this new attention is greatly appreciated.

"It makes me feel pretty proud," says Gloria.

'Rosie the Riveter' projects are underway in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The plan is to expand nationwide over the next three years.