‘Rosies’ given hero’s welcome in their first honor flight to D.C.

About 30 World War II “Rosie the Riveters” were greeted with a hero’s welcome at Reagan National Airport Tuesday. The women who helped America win the war more than 70 years ago were part of the honor flight program that, since 2005, has flown roughly 160,000 veterans to Washington, D.C., for daytrips to celebrate their service. This was the first flight specifically for the Rosies.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, welcomes Rosies at Reagan National Airport. Video by Megan Patrick

Symbolized by the iconic “We Can Do It!” image, Rosies worked jobs traditionally done by men, like building bombers, tanks and other weapons of war. Seven decades later, these women were cheered by more than 50 people lined up outside the gate for the plane from Detroit.

“It’s important to take time to say thank you for your service and sacrifices,” said Megan Patrick. She has been meeting honor flights about once a month for the last four years and serves as a guardian, a volunteer who spends the day with a vet as they tour the nation’s capital.

“What’s unique for Rosies is the transition to work in factories, but they were also asked to leave,” said Patrick, referring to the women essentially losing their jobs. “That transition should also be addressed.”

The women came off the plane one-at-a-time, surrounded by two rows of people cheering. At the back of the line was Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq war veteran wounded when her helicopter was shot down in 2004.

Patrick captured the above exchange between Duckworth and one of the Rosies on her cell phone.