A Rosie the Riveter Memorial Garden was dedicated this week at Mill Pond Manor in honor of two of its residents.
Marjorie Haskins, 96, and Marian Youngs, 94, were celebrated for their service as original “Rosies” during World War II. Members of the Willow Run Chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association were on hand for the dedication, dressed in their traditional jumpsuits, work boots and red polka dot bandannas.
Claire Dahl, a “Tribute” Rosie the Riveter, introduced the two women and gave a presentation on the history of the Rosies at the Willow Run plant during World War II.
“By May of 1942, we had a worker shortage because so many men were in the military. The government priority was ‘How can we staff Willow Run and all of the defense plants around this country with so many men in the service?’ The obvious answer was women.”
Dahl has interviewed Haskins and Youngs for the Library of Congress.
Haskins was 18 when she began work in the crib of the press shop, keeping track of the tools, blueprints, and molds. Her mother worked as a riveter. The two women traveled from Carleton, one hour each way, in a carpool.
Youngs was an eighteen year old farm girl from Saline when she began work in the press shop. After the war, she opened Attic Treasures Antiques on Moon Road in Saline.
“We have to remember that our Rosies changed the landscape for employment for women in this world. They opened up the doors for all of us who have non-stereotypical jobs. They gave all of us the attitude of ‘We can do it!’,” Dahl said.
Nancy Zajac, president of the Willow Run chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association, presented the rose garden at the dedication ceremony.
“The Rosie the Riveter Memorial Rose Garden is part of a national campaign to build a living memorial to honor the six million women who made history on the home front during World War II,” Zajac said. To date, the local chapter has planted over one hundred roses in the Detroit metro area.
A sign has been installed in the gardens of Mill Pond Manor to commemorate the event. Both women were presented with a rose, along with a rose bush.
Reverend Pamela Koebel from St. Paul United Church of Christ in Saline concluded the program with a garden blessing and prayer. Friends and family joined the women for a reception after the dedication.