“They are in the shipyards, lumber mills, steel mills, foundries.  They are electricians, mechanics, and even boilermakers. They operate streetcars, buses, cranes, and tractors.  Women engineers are working in the drafting rooms and women physicists and chemists in the great industrial laboratories.” – Newsweek, 1943

Rosie the Riveter.  World War II Icon. American Heroine.  Timeless Inspiration.

88- year-old Lorette was one such “Rosie.”  Her father was a World War I veteran who served as a member of the American Expeditionary Force.  As she grew up, her father instilled in her the value and importance of fighting for her country in whatever way she was able.  At just 10 years old, she joined the war effort by weeding acres of carrots.

“For the first year, I was paid 5 cents per hour,” Lorette explained, “The second year I was paid 10 cents per hour, and the third year, if you were lucky, you got 20 cents per hour.”  

Though no one today would call 20 cents per hour “lucky,” it was more than enough at the time for Lorette, and it felt like even more knowing she was doing her part to serve her country and further the war effort to honor those who were fighting overseas.  

 

She continued as she grew older, doing relief work in local hospitals and working for a company that built rifles.  After WWII, she married a Marine and began working for the Navy, where she stayed for 25 years.

“Being a military wife was difficult,” Lorette said, “Having to start all over again every time we moved.  You do what you have to do at the time. We did not have a lot of money, but {we} did what we could do to help.”

After moving so much, Lorette felt that she never set down any real roots – except for with her fellow “Rosies.”  However, she found herself disconnected from many of her former “Rosie” friends. “As you get older, you lose connections,” Lorette said, “but the Rosies is a group I will be with for life.”

 

Thanks to our partners at The Vital Life Foundation, Wish of a Lifetime was thrilled to send Lorette and two companions to reunite with her “Rosie” friends at the 20th Anniversary of the American Rosie the Riveter Association in the World War II Museum in New Orleans.  

“Taking Lorette on this trip was a life changing experience,” Derrick, one of her companions said, “Lorette absolutely flourished on this trip and it was so much fun to watch her interact with old friends and meet new ones. I wanted to personally thank Wish of a Lifetime and The Vital Life Foundation for making Lorette’s wish become both a reality, and now a memory she will cherish for the rest of her life.”

Lorette loved getting to reminisce about her “Rosie” days with her old friends.  “It was a fantastic experience. The WWII Museum was something else. It was huge!  The memories kick in while you’re there,” she said with a smile in her eyes, “The trip went beautifully.”

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