Hundreds turned out last night to support Rosie the Riveter Trust and to get a sneak preview of the new Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front Visitor Center scheduled for a May 26 grand opening. The party opened with a preliminary tour of the new visitor center then moved into the Craneway for dinner.
The National Park Service projects that once the Visitor Center is open, visitation to the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park will climb into the hundreds of thousands annually.
Right to left, Shirley Butt, tom Butt, Morgan Smith Martha Lee and Tom Leatherman.
Tom Powers and Nigel Hearne
Dancers from Sherrie’s dance Studio provided Rosie themed entertainment, and Superintendent Tom Leatherman and Congressman George Miller provided opening remarks. The keynote speaker was John August, Executive Director, Coalition of Kaiser Pemanente Unions, who reminded us of the extraordinary accomplishments that happened in Richmond over 60 years ago.
The next big activities at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front national Historical Park will be on Memorial Day weekend, beginning with the Big bash at the Craneway, opening of the Visitor Center and a Memorial Day observance at the Red Oak Victory.
The crew at the SS Red Oak Victory in Richmond is following up on its successful Veterans Day program that drew a packed house last November with plans for its first Memorial Day observance next month.
The event promises to be memorable with the dedication of a Blue Star Byways Monument by the El Cerrito Garden Club, and a ceremony honoring all those who have served in all branches of the armed forces, as well as those who have served in the U.S. Merchant Marine.
The program will include a talk by historian and author Steve Gilford on Liberty ship the SS Stephen Hopkins, which has a special place in World War II lore and deep ties to Richmond starting with its construction at Kaiser Shipyard No. 2 in 1942.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the naval battle in which the Hopkins, "a Richmond-built ship, with some officers and men from Richmond, took on a German warship off the coast of Africa and sank it, the only such occurrence of the war," said Gilford, who recounts the unlikely outcome in a chapter of his book "Build 'em by the Mile, Cut 'em off by the Yard."
In preparation for the ceremony, the Richmond Museum of History is looking to contact and invite people who may have a connection to the Hopkins, whether those who served on the ship (which was also sunk in the battle), were involved in its construction, or are related to those who had a link.
To contact the organizers, call museum President Lois Boyle at 510-232-6593, the Red Oak Victory at 510-237-2933 or the Richmond Museum of History at 510-235-7387.
The Memorial Day observance is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 28 at the Red Oak, 1337 Canal Blvd. in the Port of Richmond.
The program will include dedication of the marker by the mayors of El Cerrito and Richmond, dedication of a Merchant Marine flag that joins the military flags flown at the ship, light refreshments, a tour of the Red Oak and light refreshments.
Lunch ($15, reservations required) and the talk by Gilford about how a lightly armed Liberty ship faced down and sank the heavily armed German raider Steir will follow.
Learn more about the Red Oak at www.ssredoakvictory.com.