for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham
I was thinking about this week’s article and drawing off resources to
blend the Labor Day holiday with those who have served, I came upon a
gem. The Department of Labor had an interesting post I wanted to pass
along. Many in our Post represent our Greatest Generation. Not only did
our men serve honorably during WWII but so did the women as do our
ladies of the Auxillary.
Certainly, one of the more readily recognizable icons of labor is
“Rosie the Riveter,” the tireless World War II-era woman who rolled up
her sleeves, flexed her arm muscles and said, “We Can Do It!” But, this
isn’t the original Rosie.
In 1942, as World War II raged in Europe and the Pacific and the song
“Rosie the Riveter” filled radio waves across the home front,
manufacturing giant Westinghouse commissioned artist J. Howard Miller
to make a series of posters to promote the war effort. One such poster
featured the image of a woman with her hair wrapped up in a red
polka-dot scarf, rolling up her sleeve and flexing her bicep. At the
top of the poster, the words ‘We Can Do It!’ are printed in a blue
The “Rosie” image popular during the war was created by illustrator
Norman Rockwell (who had most certainly heard the “Rosie the Riveter”
song) for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943 — the
Memorial Day issue. The image depicts a muscular woman wearing
overalls, goggles and pins of honor on her lapel. She sports a leather
wrist band and rolled-up sleeves. She sits with a riveting tool in her
lap, eating a sandwich, and “Rosie” is inscribed on her lunch pail.
And, she’s stepping on a copy of Adolph Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf.”
The magazine cover exemplified the American can-do spirit and
illustrated the notion of women working in previously male-dominated
manufacturing jobs, an ever-growing reality, to help the United States
fight the war while the men fought over seas. The cover was an enormous
success and soon stories about real life “Rosies” began appearing in
newspapers across the country. The government took advantage of the
popularity of Rosie the Riveter and embarked on a recruiting campaign
of the same name. The campaign brought millions of women out of the
home and into the workforce. To this day, Rosie the Riveter is still
considered the most successful government advertising campaign in
After the war, numerous requests were made for the Saturday Evening
Post image of Rosie the Riveter, but Curtis Publishing, the owner of
the Post, refused all requests. The publishing company was possibly
concerned that the composers of the song “Rosie the Riveter” would hold
them liable for copyright infringement.
Since then, the J. Howard Miller “We Can Do It!” image has replaced
Norman Rockwell’s illustration as “Rosie the Riveter” in the minds of
many people. Miller’s Rosie has been imprinted on coffee mugs, mouse
pads, and countless other items, making her and not the original
“Rosie” the most famous of all labor icons.
As a reminder our Commander has established our plan for future
meetings. We meet regularly the first and third Thursday evening at
1900 hours (that’s 7:00 PM). It is the Commander’s idea is to have the
first meeting to be formal business and the third Thursday conduct a
cookout and some form of information/entertainment. So we encourage all
veterans to come out and attend.
Our regular meetings are the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at
1900 hours (7:00 PM). Our Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings are run
by Post Adjutant Eli Prater and Jerry Sebert. Over biscuits and gravy
(or waffles) we will keep up on each other’s mischievous doings. It
runs generally from 7 am to 9 am. If you are a veteran come join us.
And if you have a good story it may end up in print.