CHARLESTON, W.Va. - From working in aircraft factories to driving cranes, they were the women who kept America going during World War II.
During a Monday meeting at the Civic Center, the Charleston Rotary Club honored eight West Virginians who served their country as "Rosie the Riveters."
As the ladies were introduced, pictures were flashed across a screen of each of them from decades earlier. They were beautiful, determined and strong. As a matter of fact, they still are and each has a story to tell.
Anne Montague, who heads Rosie the Riveter projects in West Virginia, led the program.
She moved from table to table at the luncheon as each Rosie offered a few sentences about her job during the war. These brief snapshots told only a fraction of what they endured during the war and the tasks they learned to perform.
Doris Altemeier, of Huntington, will be 92 on Jan. 8. She worked as a welder in Portland, Ore.
"When I went out to Oregon, I didn't know a thing about working around machinery," she said. "I decided I was going to work. They sent us to school to teach us to weld. If you ever tried to weld anything, you feel like you're going to get stuck yourself."
But she was determined and she learned.
Mary Lou Maroney, 90, of Charleston, was a riveter in Detroit as well as a veteran who served in the WAVES division of the U.S. Navy.
Mazie Mullins, 88, of Clendenin, worked at Goodyear Aircraft in Akron, Ohio, as a riveter in sheet metal training. She was engaged to a young soldier who was killed in action just days before they were to married.
Edie Lyons, 95, of Charleston, worked as a secretary and accountant and kept track of pilots and flights.
Mozelle Brown, 92, of Summersville, was a riveter who worked on fighter planes with parts that had to fit precisely.
"We worked hard," she said. "One big sacrifice for the ladies was we had no silk hose. Silk was needed for parachutes. Everybody sacrificed."