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Rosie the Riveter Day holds special meaning in Evansville

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — We can do it. And whether or not their name was Rosie, during World War II in Evansville, they did.

According to local history buffs, Evansville produced more per capita than any other cities in the country during World War II, and none of that would have been possible without the local “Rosie the Riveters.”

Juanita Raleigh, a former Briggs employee was one of them.

“A little woman, 4’11, that would work harder than any of us,” said Jeff Raleigh, Juanita’s son. “My mom came up, had some relatives that lived up here, and went to work.”

From welding to building ships like the LST 325, on display in Evansville, experts say without women’s help, none of it would have happened.

“When you’re backed into a corner like in World War II, a lot of things like gender, race, don’t matter,” said Chris Donahue, a member of the board of directors for LST 325.

Several museums are celebrating the history Rosie’s and Juanita’s made, and continue to make even to this day, knowing that the war wouldn’t be the only thing with a different outcome, if it weren’t for the strong women here at home.

“I’m extremely proud of her, not only for that, but for the kind of mother she was,” Jeff Raleigh said. “She was very loving and kind, but she was also a very hard worker. She was somebody that taught us to work hard, and play hard.”

Wednesday was the second national Rosie the Riveter day. The holiday was started in 2017.