Naomi Parker Fraley, who you may know as the real Rosie the Riveter, passed away this week at the age of 96. Fraley was a model for Norman Rockwell’s infamous 1943 painting, Rosie the Riveter. In the ’40s, versions of the painting symbolized women’s contributions in the workforce during World War II.
Keeping Our Nation Thriving Throughout World War II
Although you might recognize her by her polka-dotted bandana, work shirt, flexed arm, and the call to arms, “We Can Do It!”, Fraley was much more than a pretty face in a painting. Fraley worked in a Navy machine shop during World War II while many of our nation’s men were overseas fighting in the war. In fact, Fraley wasn’t the only woman helping our country stay afloat—in addition to the millions of men in combat, over 350,000 women joined the US military during World War II. These women repaired airplanes, drove trucks, worked as nurses, flew military aircrafts, rigged parachutes, served as laboratory technicians, and more to keep America thriving. These women served near the front lines, resulting in 16 deaths as a result of direct enemy fire. 68 American service women were captured as POWs. Over 1,600 nurses were decorated for bravery under fire and meritorious service, which 565 WACs won combat decorations.
Rockwell’s painting of Fraley represented the strength of the American woman. Many women worked in factories and shipyards throughout the war, many of whom produced the war supplies and munitions needed to help the men and women in arms overseas. Women represented by Fraley often took on these jobs to replace the male workers who joined the American military.
Rosie the Riveter | A Cultural Icon and Symbol of Resistance
As arguably the most iconic woman in the manufacturing industry, Fraley put a face to a movement of production, leadership, and the hardworking women who kept America a free nation by defeating some of the most imposing obstacles imaginable.
In 2016, Fraley was quoted saying “The women of this country these days need some icons. If they think I’m one, I’m happy.” Today, Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon known across the nation; a symbol of women’s physical, emotional, and economic power.
US Manufacturing Today Supports 17.4 Million Jobs
As a US-based manufacturer and fabricator, we know that today’s manufacturing is modern and dynamic. US manufacturing supports 17.4 million jobs in the US – jobs that cross all ages and genders, supporting new and innovative talent.
Today, we give thanks to Naomi Parker Fraley and the rest of the women across our country who are the faces of freedom, economic endurance, and manufacturing.