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Fort Lee's 'Rosie The Riveter' Leads Borough Memorial Day Parade

Maureen Ford
Maureen Ford Photo Credit: Donna Brennan
The image that came to symbolize American women's rights -- and strengths.
The image that came to symbolize American women's rights -- and strengths. Photo Credit: Facebook

FORT LEE, N.J. -- Fort Lee's own version of the World War II-era fictional Rosie the Riveter character will be co-grand marshal of Monday's Memorial Day parade.

Borough native Maureen Ford -- who was featured in the 1980 documentary "The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter" -- was one of more than 6 million women who took up tools during World War II. Then Maureen Walsh, she worked in a World War II defense plant in Hudson County.

The full involvement of the United States in WWII after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 depleted the male work force -- at a time when munitions and other factory-produced goods were vital.

The U.S. government, in turn, launched an advertising campaign, featuring magazines and posters, aimed at recruiting women.

Ford and others like her who responded took jobs in steel and lumber mills, shipyards, munitions plants and various other factories throughout the country.

Legendary artist Norman Rockwell, is generally credited with creating one of the more popular “Rosie the Riveter” images on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.

Yet it was a song released in 1942 that gave Rosie her name -- and, many said, influenced Rockwell.

It was J. Howard Miller's 'We Can Do It!' poster that same year, however, that eventually came to symbolize the fight for women's rights and other causes -- after it was re-discovered 40 years later.

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