Friday, December 4, 2015

Wrapping up the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II

Victor Jorgensen's
"Kissing the War Goodbye"
(public domain)
     When it was announced in August, 1945 that Japan had surrendered and WW II was over, unbelievable jubilation broke out! Though the official signing of the surrender would not happen until September 2, 1945, most who were living during that time remember August 14-15 as the time of celebration --click here to see a Newsreel video about it.

Isn't this a great picture? My mother and my daughter,
Sarah, both with the Rosie spirit! Sarah had just won the
Southern Museum of Flight's "Why Are You
a Modern-Day Rosie?" Facebook contest.
It has been 70 years since the end of the war. The fall edition of the American Rosie the Riveter Association's newsletter, Rosie's Mail Call, tells of the varied ways that families, ARRA Chapters, communities, and historic places around the country celebrated -- see that issue here. We owe a debt of gratitude to the veterans and Rosies who kept our country intact and--well, still our country--during that time.

And here's a pictorial recap of how some of us commemorated the anniversary through the summer, into the fall, and on through Veterans Day, in and around Birmingham:

ARRA's National Project for the 70th Anniversary was "Rosies Rally 'Round the Troops!" -- a campaign to
write letters to currently deployed troops. Thousands
 of letters from 21 states came through our box and
we sent them on to 
Operation Gratitude to send to Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen overseas. And it's not too late -- if you'd like to participate, send cards or letters simply expressing your thanks to:
Rosies Rally 'Round the Troops,  P. O. Box #1, Fultondale, AL  35068.
Even 18-month-old granddaughters can get in on the letter-writing fun--
I told the Soldiers she drew fireworks for them!
In August, we set up a letter-writing table at an Honor Flight reunion.
Of course, GranFran didn't wait for people to come to us -- she went table to table recruiting people
to write letters on the spot! And how nice that they were glad to oblige.

Here's GranFran with Bessie Coleman
(aka Nikki Johnson of the Bessemer Airport Authority)
at the Southern Museum of Flight's Bombers and Bombshells Ball.
We also had a letter-writing table at the Bombers and Bombshells Ball. . . 

. . . as well as a letter-writing event at the Gardendale Public Library. With us are Mabel Myrick, a Rosie who helped host the event, Lisa who is the Adult Services Librarian, and my sweet husband, Jim.
We attended the Spirit of '45's commemorative program at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, AL,
along with our friend, Ralph Jones, who is a WW II veteran and an ARRA Rivet.
All of these ladies are real-live Rosies in our Birmingham ARRA Chapter,
celebrating the 70th Anniversary at our quarterly meeting. We meet at the historic Irondale Cafe,
which inspired Fannie Flagg's 
Fried Green Tomatoes  -- how fun is that!!

GranFran appeared on "Talk of Alabama" on Birmingham's ABC affiliate,
Channel 33/40, with host Nicole Allshouse.

We welcomed the MVPA (Military Vehicle Preservation Association) to Tannehill State Park near Birmingham, as their
  historic 29-day convoy from Washington, D. C. to San Diego made a stop. The convoy traced the original
1920 Transcontinental Motor Convoy route along the Bankhead Highway.

We visited with some of the participants, like these ladies from California . . .
. . . and reconnected with old friends Bonnie and Auston McNeill of the Spirit of 45 Day Express,
and Robert Corpus from the Spirit of '45 organization.

In November, the Columbus, GA/Phenix City, AL Chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association
held a "Rosie Social" at Fort Benning, GA to honor veterans and Rosies. 

Chapter President Jonnie Clasen organized a spectacular event 
with more than 250 in attendance.

More letters!! Thanks to Snow Rogers Elementary students (Tiffany Reno, Librarian),
who wrote letters to deployed troops for our Rosies Rally 'Round the Troops project!

. . . and students at Irondale Community School (Kathryn Bailey, Librarian), who also wrote letters . . .

. . . and students at Gardendale Elementary (Elizabeth Lochamy, Librarian),  who ALSO wrote letters!
These three schools sent hundreds of letters to the troops.
Way to go, students!

GranFran marched into the annual National Veterans Day Awards Banquet 
in Birmingham, to sit at the head table. I enjoyed sitting with a delegation from 
the Blue Star Salute FoundationWhat a great time we had, honoring our nation's veterans!

On November 11, Rosies, Rosebuds, and Rivets waved flags and honored veterans and Rosies as our Birmingham Chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association participated in the Birmingham Veterans Day Parade.(It's the oldest and largest Veterans Day parade in the country, by the way!) 

The parade is always so much fun -- it was a beautiful day, and the Birmingham crowd is SO supportive! Our family had four generations representing Rosie in this vehicle.
We had a wonderful time on November 23 at the Homewood Public Library,
sharing the Rosie legacy with kids and adults. (Photo by Homewood Library)
Many thanks to Homewood Children's Librarian, Laura Tucker, for planning such a
fabulous event and inviting us to come along! (Photo by Homewood Library)

There is so much to celebrate in our great country! We owe such a debt of gratitude to all the veterans and those on the home front who brought WW II to a successful end 70 years ago. 

May we all know peace again soon.

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