The American Rosie the Riveter Association had its 14th national convention/reunion June 8 through 10 at the Hilton Phoenix Airport Inn. There were 30 Rosies from Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Nevada and Pennsylvania in attendance. Rosebuds and Rivets from Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Oregon and Texas also attended.
“Rosie the Riveter” is a nickname for any woman who worked in a defense plant during World War II. “Rosebuds” are daughters of the Rosies and “Rivets” are husbands and sons of Rosies.
Friday was registration day followed by a dinner in the grand ballroom.
On Saturday, the session opened with the color guard presenting the flag and leading the group with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Francis Ellis, president of the Sun City chapter, welcomed the Rosies and read a proclamation from Gov. Jan Brewer declaring May 26, 2012, Rosie the Riveter Day.
Rep. Rick Gray of Sun City, R-District 21, was introduced by Ellis and welcomed the Rosies to the state of Arizona.
Next on the program was Frank Koerner, a Heard Museum volunteer, who presented the history of the Native Americans of the Southwest. Woven baskets, leather clothing and beautiful jewelry were on display. The Heard Museum was founded in 1929 by Dwight and Maie Heard. It is located in Phoenix and has a membership of more than 7,000 people.
The business meeting was then called to order by Donnaleen Lanktree, the national president.
After lunch, the Rosies boarded a bus for a tour of the flying aircraft museum, known as CAF Aviation Museum in Mesa. The Arizona Wing exhibits artifacts from World War I through the Vietnam era, including uniforms, leather flight jackets, medals, photographs and planes.
The tour continued with guide Linda Blitstein giving a history of Phoenix and Old Town in Scottsdale.
Leaving Scottsdale, the tour then took the group into Phoenix, driving through the heart of the city on Central Avenue, stoppin in front of the state Capitol, which has a dome covered in copper. The group arrived back at the Hilton in time for the banquet.
The entertainer for the evening was a senior woman who was born in Arizona and goes by the name of “Buckshot Dot.”
She was born in Flagstaff and grew up on the Navajo and Hualapai reservations. Dot is an Arizona cultural keeper and member of the Female Cowboy Poet Society. She and her husband John, known as “Old Buck,” recently celebrated 50 years of marriage. Buckshot Dot entertained with western songs and poetry.
On Sunday morning, members of the Sun City chapter performed a memorial service for the departed Rosies of the past year. Eighty Rosies, Rosebuds and Rivets names were read and a white flower was pinned on a red background. Those who knew the departed members were presented with a red rose.
Next year’s convention will be in Dearborn, Mich.