Thousands of Rosie The Riveters Plan To Gather In Ypsilanti To Try And Set Another World Record

Oct 12, 2017

Georgia in 2017.
Credit Sharon Graganta

Several thousand women are gathering Saturday, October 14th in Ypsilanti to try and set a new Guinness Book of World Record for the most Rosie The Riveters in one place since World War II.

The original Rosie the Riveter worked at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory, building B-24 bombers for the Air Force.  A new world record of the most Rosie the Riveters in one place is being attempted Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center this Saturday.

89.1’s Lisa Barry speaks with 94-year-old Georgia Labunes of Ann Arbor, one of the real-life Rosies attempting to break the record.


Labunes worked in the plating department and the "dope room" of the Willow Run bomber plant from 1943-1945.  She speaks of some of her memories there, including training for a possible fire in the dope room where they were instructed what to do in case of fire.  She said there were buckets of glue to paint on the tail of the planes, and they were highly flammable.  They were told to get out as fast as they could if there was an emergency and recalls the roof of the factory was not attached and would just lift off in case there was an explosion.

Georgia with her husband Sam, whom she met while working at Willow Run
Credit Sharon Graganta

She also speaks about how she enjoyed her work and the people she worked with.  Labunes says she worked afternoons, because it was cooler and less hectic remembering her hours were from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. six days a week.

Labunes says she looks forward to Saturday and attempting to break the record, which currently stands at 2,229.

Georgia in 1943.
Credit Sharon Graganta

The Yankee Air Museum owns and is renovating the factory where the original Rosie the Riveter worked during WWII.  The Yankee Air Museum hopes to renovate a portion of the Willow Run bomber plant to become the new home of the National Museum of Aviation and Technology at Historic Willow Run.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu