The project has interviewed more than 200 women, most of whom are in their 90s, and has collected stories from across the country. Thanks! Plain and Simple hopes to introduce a National Rosie the Riveter Movement by the fall to encourage other communities to actively find their Rosies and learn their stories, Montague said.
During the war effort, many citizens adopted the bluebird as a symbol of hope, aided by the "Bluebird of Happiness," a popular song written in 1934 by Sandor Harmati and Edward Heyman. Thanks! has begun giving bluebird houses with the names of living Rosies to schools and other institutions to serve as a reminder of the sacrifices Rosies have made serving the U.S., Montague said.
"The only rule we have is that you get to know a Rosie and let her tell you her story, and let her tell you why the bluebird is a symbol of hope," she said.
West Virginia is the first state with an organization that has systematically found and interview living Rosies and created projects to promote awareness of their history. Montague, whose mother was a worker during WWII, said she realized after her mother's passing the importance of learning more about the impact women like her made more than 70 years ago.
"The incredible thing is how many of these women are still able to talk about it so late in their lives," she said. "These people are bringing other Americans together. These people want to know these women, they love to hear from them; it's almost as though there has been something missing, and people are now realizing that what is missing is a fuller story."
For more information on Thanks! Plain and Simple or the West Virginia Rosie the Riveter Project, visit www.thanksplainandsimple.org.
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.