The original six “Rosie the Riveters” who worked in a shipyard during World War II traveled to Washington today in hopes of fulfilling one of their dreams: getting a hug from Joe Biden.
“Oh my gosh, it was wonderful. I had written a letter to the vice president and in it I said my dream would be to have my picture taken with the two of them in the Oval Office, and I got it,” gushed 91-year-old Phyllis Gould, of California, whose letter prompted the women’s meeting at the White House.
In her letter, Gould also expressed her desire to get a hug from the vice president, another dream that came true today. “He came bursting out of a room and grabbed me and … then he hugged everyone,” Gould said.
One Riveter said President Obama “kissed all of us” during his meeting with the women. “And Biden did too!” another chimed in.
The Riveters worked as welders, electricians and draftsman at the Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond, Calif., during World War II.
Gould said she wrote the letter because she felt her fellow Riveters weren’t being given their due credit. “All the military had monuments and recognition and we didn’t get any, and we’re not going to be around that much longer and in the schools they’re not even teaching about World War II, so if anybody’s going to remember us, I wanted to be a big bang here — and we’re having it,” Gould said.
On their legacy, the women said they hope to be remembered as trailblazers for women in America. Each Riveter added their own hope for how they would be remembered: “That women can do anything they put their mind to,” said one. Then another said: “I just want us to be remembered that we did what we could to help win the war, World War II, and bring our boys home.”
“I was 20 years old and I was having fun,” Gould added. “I can claim I was patriotic, but that isn’t quite the way I remember it.”
“I was but other things were taking priority such as fancy underwear and Frank Sinatra records,” she joked.
When asked if there would be a monument erected in their honor, one Riveter exclaimed, “We hope so!”
“I said that’s the next thing we’ll work on” Gould added.
This isn’t the last scheduled encounter for the Riveters and their new pal.
“We’re having breakfast tomorrow morning with Vice President Biden at his home,” said one Riveter.
“And he says he’s got more stuff planned for us but it’s a secret, it will be a surprise!” Gould added.