Rosie the Riveter was a cultural icon of World War II who represented women who worked in the factories and shipyards producing airplanes, vehicles and war supplies for American soldiers.
Today, most “Rosies” are well in their 90s.
The chances of meeting or knowing one is rare.
Millbrook resident Annette Eddings is a living Rosie who built airplanes during the war. “Most of the boys were off at war and I applied for a job with the Civic Service,” she said. “I ended up at Warner Robins Army Air Depot.”
She spent her time building B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers used by the United States Army Air Forces during WWII.
“I worked as an airplane mechanic during my time there,” Eddings said. “It was mainly ladies who worked in my area.”
She said when she first arrived to start working as a mechanic she helped build the bunk houses where the ladies lived.
“When I first went over there they were still building barracks,” she said. “Building the barracks was rough. I was raised on a farm and always did hard work.”
Eddings said the time on the farm taught her how to work hard which pleased her boss.
“My crew chief would always say when he came by that he didn’t have to come behind me because he knew everything would be the way it should be,” she said.
She worked at the assembly plant for nearly two years and the job gave her a sense of pride she and her fellow Rosies were supporting the efforts of the soldiers fighting the war.
As the war came to a close, Eddings met her future husband and journeyed back home to Millbrook.
“We got married later on and had seven children,” she said. “My children are all around me and most of my grandchildren are too. I’m blessed.”
Eddings is 96 years old, lives in her own home and is able to take care of herself.
One way she remains connected with others who shared her experiences during WWII is through the Rosie the Riveter Association even if she is not up for long-distance travel these days.
“I’ve been to all 50 states and traveled overseas,” Eddings said. “I do not travel to the conventions but I enjoy being part of the association.”
Maybel Myrick, corresponding secretary of the American Rosie the Riveter Association, said Eddings is wanting to establish a local chapter in the area.
“The purpose of our organization is to recognize and preserve the legacy of the working women during World War II,” Myrick said.
Membership in the association is not limited to women who worked in the factories and offices during WWII Myrick said.
“We like for the daughters and granddaughters to join,” she said. “They are known as Rose Buds.”
Myrick said the association’s membership roster has over 6,500 members. Myrick said another draw to being involved is the fellowship with other Rosies and Rose Buds.
“We have a convention every year but this year had to be canceled,” Myrick said. We’ve had several in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Tennessee and other places. We try to hold it different places so everybody can come sometime.”
Myrick encouraged anyone in the area who is interested in forming a chapter to contact the association by visiting www.rosietheriveter.net or calling 1-888-557-6743.