I was born in 1950, just a few short years after the end of World War II, and part of the Baby Boomer generation. My father fought in Europe during the Second World War and my mother worked building airplanes for the military in the repurposed National Cash Register plant in Dayton, Ohio. (Anyone remember the Rosie the Riveter posters?) My mother worked full time while raising my older brother who had been born in 1939. During the war, Americans were subjected to rationing and were issued coupon books to purchase everyday items like toilet paper and food. Americans recycled for the war effort (too bad we’re not encouraged to do the same to SAVE THE PLANET!).
As a young girl, there weren’t many female role models for me. Women and their accomplishments were pretty much absent from the history we were taught in school. I didn’t learn about women’s struggle for the right to vote until I went to college, and that was thanks to the rebirth of the Feminist Movement. In celebration of Women’s History Month (wow we get a WHOLE month, instead of every day of every year), I want to share the story of the WASPs, which received coverage on NPR recently. On Wednesday, the Federal government finally recognized (acknowledged?) the contribution of these women during World War II. The few WASPs who are still alive received the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Follow these links to find out more about them and to view some very rare color photographs taken by Lillian Yonally while serving as a WASP: http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2010/03/a_contraband_camera_photos_of.html and
It’s been a great year for women already. It only took 65 years for these trailblazing women to be honored and recognized for their service to America and only 82 years for a woman to receive the Best Director Academy Award. Maybe within the next 100 years ALL of the accomplishments of women will gain recognition as well. In the meantime, celebrate women because we can, in fact, DO ANYTHING! When in doubt remember this great quote: “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except she did it backwards and in high heels.”