Second attempt at Rosie the Riveter record proves successful

Rosie Ruth Webb with her son Robert (far right), daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughter

After falling short in October, another attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the most Rosie the Riveters gathered in one location was held on Saturday. This time, the record was successfully broken.

Kaitlin Zies, a master’s student graduating in April, attended the event because of her love of the Bomber museum. Early in the event, she said that she believed they had a good chance of breaking the record.

“There’s a lot of Rosies here,” she said.

Indeed there were. There needed to be at least 250 Rosies to set the record. In October, 143 showed up, falling just over 100 women short. On Saturday, 778 women showed up, breaking the record tremendously.

The event is part of an attempt to raise awareness about the Willow Run Bomber Plant, where the real Rosie, Rose Will Monroe, worked.
If they raise $8 million by May 1—of which they are currently $1.5 million short—part of the plant will be saved and become the new home to the Yankee Air Museum.

At 2 p.m., the large line outside Hanger One at Willow Run Airport already indicated that there was a good chance the record would be broken. The otherwise cold and dreary day was brightened by red bandanas with white polka dots. Women of all ages, from babies and young children to original Rosies, were dressed as Rosie the Riveter, and a few men sported the bandanas as well.

Once inside, it became clear just how many women had shown up, as the giant hangar was full of Rosie the Riveters.

One of these women was Kathryn Palmer, a senior at EMU, majoring in special education for emotional impairment. Palmer didn’t attend the October event, but heard about this one from a friend. Her love of costuming inspired her to go, as well as her interest in Rosie the Riveter.

“I think the fact that she’s so iconic is pretty amazing,” Palmer said. “It teaches us a lot about that era.”

When the original Rosies made their way to the stage, the room erupted into applause, showing just how big of an impact these women had.

The impact of the poster of Rosie the Riveter – presented on a banner in the back of the stage with the message “We can do it again!” was clear.

“If you show anybody in America a picture of Rosie the Riveter, they’re going to recognize her,” Zies said. “For strong female characters in American history, you don’t get much better than Rosie.”

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