By Chris Treadway
The Oakland Tribune.
Since their return from meeting the president and vice president in Washington, D.C. in April, the six women who once worked at the World War II Kaiser shipyards have been busier than ever, with invitations for speaking engagements and parade appearances, in addition to the dozens of people who come to see them on Fridays at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park visitors center.
Now, the woman who spearheaded the visit has embarked on another effort centered in the nation’s capital: Convincing Congress to establish a national Rosie the Riveter Day to honor the women who filled the ranks of labor during the war, blazing the trail for the women who would enter the work force in the years to come.
Phyllis Gould, 92, a journeyman welder at the Richmond shipyards from 1942-45, initiated the Washington, D.C. visit with a relentless letter-writing campaign of more than a decade that finally caught the eye of Vice President Joe Biden last October.
As a member of the “We can do it” generation, Gould wasn’t content to let things stop there. The Fairfax resident has been writing to her congressman, U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, about establishing Rosie the Riveter Day.
Huffman, already familiar with the accomplishments of the Rosies, and Gould in particular, listened and said from his office in Washington, D.C. last week that he plans to propose just such a day when Congress reconvenes in October.
“The status is, as it is with World War II veterans, that there is an urgency to recognize the contributions of the ‘Greatest Generation’ while they are still alive, and the Rosie the Riveters are part of that,” he said.
“Phyllis has been a dynamo,” Huffman said. “You can see why, with Phyllis and people like (her) across the country, that we won the war.”