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Country makers are fighting premium fuel like super He selects for premium diesel our last five years when ethanol for refined here in any other country will probably sponsor. Across India. Welcome back to across Indiana Michael Atwood. And we're joined by Major Felicia Brokaw director of logistics at Camp Atterbury. And we're here at the Medal of Honor award recipients memorial located right behind the Indiana State Museum. Major Brokaw so glad to have you for this trip. Thanks Mike for having me. Major Brokaw has recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq and we've asked her to join us as we look at the role of Indiana's women during World War Two major broker I can only imagine since World War 2 the role of women in the military has changed significantly.
Yes Mike. Today women take a leadership role and they're well respected within that role. Well we're so glad to have you to join us for this trip. Thanks for having me. We're going to start the trip with a look at one of the most famous icons of the war. Rosie the Riveter represented the spirit of female independence and echoed the values associated with the American work ethic. Yes what most of you may not realize about the famous picture have is that Rosie was a Hoosier from Clarksville. We headed there to take a look at the life of the real Rosie and find out how her image became such a powerful symbol for American women not only in the 40s but also today. Most recognize her as a Rosie the Riveter the American icon representing the strength of working women during World War 2. But for these two losers Rosie means much more. For the real Rosie. Rose will Monroe was their mom. She was a riveter and her best friend was the buffer. On the inside playing.
Walter Pigeon came to L.A. to the plant too. It was well-run plant to do a war bond film. And while he was there the song Rosie the Riveter was very popular it was the big song and mothers forming him to mention that he had a riveter named Rosie. So Walter Pigeon went ahead and used mom in this film. And that was her whole kind of thing. After the war many women lost their jobs to returning soldiers. The government encouraged women to trade in the factory skills for a more traditional life at home. But the real rosy a venue widow with two small children pursued a different line. She started out as a riveter. She went from that to a beauty college had a degree as a hairdresser. She also drove a cab in downtown
Leupold. She drove a bus school bus. At one time. She did draperies and slipcover sewing. There was just nothing. Mom set her mind to that she couldn't. That's fifty eight years old rose still had a deep rooted desire. A desire born during her life as a riveter as a factory worker. Rose helped produce airplanes. And now she wanted to fly one. So the grandmother became a pilot. A dream that eventually turned to nightmare. When her Cessna 172 airplane stalled on takeoff. But I woke up still laying. You know in the plane and I remember them getting us out. And I remember trying to tell mom I knew she was seriously injured and I remember talking to her and telling her that everything would be
OK. And I remember the ambulance ride back. I really don't think that they expected her to live first. She just had. Strength and gusto and and she did so many things and she did them well when this was. Her dream was to fly. And sure she did not want to give that up and even if she's in there just she had any way to heal herself she will. Rose survived the New York fatal plane crash but that flight would lead to her death. She lost a kidney in the wreck. Her failing health would eventually take over her body but it never took over her spirit. Even Rose's last few words expressed her appreciation for life and her love for laughter. She was a Christian and she was a Cyberwoman she believed in the Lord and she knew she was going to go to heaven. And we all know that that's where she is. But she was talking and she
said Jesus you are so beautiful you are so beautiful. Oh it is just beautiful here. And we're saying King she's seeing visions of heaven. And a few minutes later she says if you talk in here for how long we're particularly. Close. She was entertaining. She was quite entertaining during her life. Rose will Monroe never thought much about being the real Rosie but her daughters realized her significance for Rose set a tradition as a hardworking strong willed woman. And more importantly she proved to be a loving mother. I think more than anything we knew that we were left. And I think that's the greatest gift she gave us. Major Brokaw let let our viewers know just a little bit of of what your duties were while you were stationed in Iraq.
I was the suppliant services officer and my job was to miming packets to a joint acquisition review board which was. Axing for monies in order to take care of the base support. Now you were also involved in trying to teach the Iraqi people more about their own independence. That's correct. I participated in a program called Iraqi first so we bought supplies and services from the Iraqi people. That way they could be more independent and more still take control. Now how are you regarded by the Iraqi people as a woman in a leadership position. I was regardless of high respect. I was surprised at that by the culture. But for the most part they did give me the due respect to the officer. Now and how long were you stationed. How long was your tour of duty. Twelve months was 12 months now someone back here stateside was keeping a very close track of that. Tell me about. Yes that's correct. My husband bought my kids a calendar a 365 day calendar whereas my daughter would mark off each day. At times she forgot name marked off week at a time. So if you would say How's your mom and she would
respond what how many days ahead left. She's 80 days away. She's 40 days and 30 days away so that kept her going and they kept her motivated. And tell us how your family was surprised by the first thing that you did upon returning home what was one of the first things you did. Yes. When I got home I laid down in the grass and I rode and I rode in the kids looked instead of Mommy OK. And dad said Well yes and I thought well I haven't seen grass in 12 months. In 1929 a born story pilot swooped in for a daring landing over a cornfield in tiny Graybill Indiana. Seven year old Margaret remembered watched from the backseat of her father's car as the plane completed its aerial acrobatics. The pilot then came over and offered Margaret a ride. She knew then and there that she would commit the rest of her life to fly. And along the way she would redefine the role of women in the aviation industry as Indiana's first lady of flight. From the time she was a little girl Margaret ringin bird dreamed of soaring high on silver
wings above her home in Graybill Indiana at a time when the aviation industry relegated women to the role of stewardess. Margaret backed the odds and joined the first plane flight academy in 1940 three years later with a mere 70 hours of flying time under her belt. She received a telegram from Uncle Sam asking her to interview for an experimental new Army Corps the Women Air Force Service Pilots. Let's remove the. Horn was to move the airplane. I was in the first complete class. Where we lived in Bury and marched a flatfish. We were already exists in the military clothes. Of course they were size 40 to 44 and they didn't fit too well but. For some reason the group that was out there we didn't care how they fit so we could go on.
We were strictly experimental they would not allow us outside the United States although we were sworn in. We still were not completely on military status. I went in with about 70 hours of flying time came out with eighteen hundred in two years and then as I look back now that a lot of flying I would deliver an airplane to fly back to the base and I pick up orders the next morning and go right back out to you again. We were not limited on time that we supply. It was a job to be done and. We were getting to do it. The responsibility of taking new and untested claims from the factory floor to Air Force posts all over the country. All have been proved to be difficult and dangerous task for Wasps like Margaret who once faced a perilous situation over a military
base near the nation's capital. When we first started out of course we were testing our own airplanes and sometimes the writers or something were not lined up to our liking really wasn't going to I didn't. And at that time didn't realize how risky it was. I look back on it now as. Just another experience. Undaunted by the perils of her military experience Margaret continued to follow a passion for aviation after an honorable discharge in December of 1994. As well as her success as a military pioneer and flight instructor Margaret is one of the most celebrated air racers in the country. She said she's long lost count of the number of awards she's amassed in more than four decades of competition. Forgot about 40000 hours and the rest of the time I go up and it's
twice the same. It's beautiful up there. It is for me it is very relaxing for felling as if Margaret's career wasn't colorful enough. In 1994 she completed an around the world air race in just 24 days. Not bad for a 73 year old. I truly have had a lot of great opportunities. I really don't know that I want to just think bomb they they came my way and I think everybody of Opportunity Knocks open the door. Needless to say America's entry into the second world war marked the beginning of one of the most dramatic and tense times in our nation's history. Music was the country's outlet a way to escape the troubling times we faced.
Among those musicians who were reaching out to the American people was an unusual act from our state and all girls swing band from Frankfurt led by the charismatic big band leader Freddy Shaffer. They're named the victory sweethearts. It was the big band era when names like Dorsey Ellington and Miller brought romance and swing on to the dance floors and into our hearts. Who's your native Freddy shaper from Frankfurt Indiana was one of the arrows hottest trumpet players and often burned up the bandstand with the likes of Doc Peyton pops Whiteman and later with his own band the Harris own Ian. But in 1937 Shaffer left the band and returned to Frankfurt. They are the soft spoken showman taught music at the schools in Clinton County. When he came up with a remarkable idea featuring female recruits all from the
Frankfurt area pretty shapers all girl band was born. I had a job at home I was a beauty operator and I left the shop to go with the band. Because as much as I like my beauty work I like music too and I'd always wanted to be an all girl band so it meant a lot to me an awful lot. Shaver melted his 15 piece group into a unique sound that resonated in the hearts and souls of many whose ears they used to follow us around to the shades into Turkey Run into Indiana Rue Indiana Beach almost twice we were playing and we always had a big crowd and seemed to be very much in the way. The group featured back in Downbeat magazine called the greatest female drummer in the world. Routinely she hammered out the dizzying solo numbers that were both her and the crowd. The latter Fred featured each member of the band and toe tapping works that kept audiences riveted. We were playing one o'clock jump which was my thing for my solo. So I was back slapping
and twirling the bass around and going for it the more I done it the better they liked and the more they clapped. Well somehow someway you people clap for you in everything you did a little more you know. I musta got too energetic because I broke a string. And it come back and popped and hit the instrument and made the office noise in that open mike. Without realizing and the crowd became very very quiet and I was so surprised I turned around to Fred and I said oh I broke my g string which was my first ring on the instrument. And the crowd came down I mean they thought that was a pun is part of the whole thing and. I was so naive I didn't know what a G-string was accepting on a bass fiddle. What America into the war in 1941. Shaffer tried to capture the fighting spirit of the US forces by changing the name of his band to Freddy shapers victory sweetheart's. News of the group's popular shows soon reached Washington and in 1942 the USO offered shaker of
the girls an extended tour of military bases in the United States. And from then on it lists almost every day we moved. And we practiced the rebels and. Moved every day but it was exciting. Her place was the siding. On the beautiful Skyway of hotel Peabody in Memphis Tennessee and through the facilities at WRAMC. CBS and its affiliated stations together with the United States Treasury Department bring you the music of Buddy paper and his all girl orchestra. The voice of Treasury bonds. And. Certainly for American GI guys the sight of 15 young girls on the bandstand was very exciting. But performances by the victors sweethearts meant much more to soldiers far away from the music.
Was a healing process for the veterans. The war changed our feelings and our emotions a lot because it changed our families and changed our lifestyle. But we were able and capable to reach out and reach the people who are in need with their armies. It was my experience and the kids have never been away from home. And we just don't know sure our vacations with their parents. And just to see the country that we travel and by traveling by cars you see a lot more of it. And we were just elated. At all we saw. And what you just looked at. I do it again if I was younger. There are 10000 graves at the American Cemetery in Normandy France. Only four of them. Our final resting place of women. One of them was from Indiana.
On the surface it seemed that Elizabeth Richardson was just a typical hometown girl. Yet her graveside has been visited by people from around the world. Friends say that she laughed easily and had a quick wit of her own that she revealed in her countless letters and diaries written from the front. And maybe that explains her greatness before they reveal the American ever woman caught in the middle of a world in turmoil. As you'll see in the story told by our lieutenant governor Becky Skillman. Would seem like a somber and remarkable life. The simple wood casket the small collection of mourners walking silently respectfully behind my words and there would be nearly 10000 laid to rest here at the American Cemetery in Normandy. And this is where Elizabeth Richardson too wanted to rest among the men she had devoted her life to working tirelessly to bring her hard on a smile from home.
At one time or was the farthest thing from Liz Richardson's mom. She was born in Akron but moved to Indiana and grew up in Mishawaka. She laughed easily and had a quick unexpectedly dry wit and showed talent as a budding artist of her opinion of the insanity that had engulfed Europe in flames. She left no doubt. War is ineffective a waste of manpower and what civilisation we have. And the US will be suckers if they interact. That all changed when America was attacked at Pearl Harbor. Liz learned that the Red Cross was sending females to serve overseas and what they were looking for was no ordinary woman. They had to be 25 years old. They had to be college graduates. They had to submit to a rigorous physical examination and a very rigorous interview. The trip to Europe was one thing where the Red Cross girls were shuttered in windowless cabins and blacked out convoys that zigged and zagged an entire ocean to
keep out of harm's way. Living in London was another. Soon after she's off the boat. She sees wheel. She sees the consequences of easy one rockets falling on the city one day and it's very frightening she she was terrified by a lovely English for the status of the Red Cross that. Came to Us and she said the German planes are directly overhead. And I'll be glad to show all of you Americans to the air raid shelter. But she said it really isn't necessary. We have the most wonderful radio or he'll never stop digging until they find your body. What the women did seems so simple nowadays. He ran the club has converted buses that served coffee and donuts to soldiers. Who've been working 12 and 14 hour days and I almost weep when I hear the word donut. Then we sing all the time smiling like not of dividing our time between donuts and mess sergeant. The coffee and the sea of faces.
We were the voice for the home we with. The G.I. sister we were the girl next door we brought conversation. We danced in the paratroopers. We we just bought friendship from. What she knew of the world she wrote eloquently. In letters to friends notes to home and in her diary. She loved wordplay she writes for examples of captured German soldiers as gentlemen with their mark to us. It's a rabbit in a regular and weird life. It's wonderful. That is as wonderful as anything can be under the circumstances. And they said Well Kirk Kirk we invaded this morning and I remember standing there with their tears rolling down my face thinking that there are many who wouldn't
say that next morning because it was a very costly. Costly day. Liz Richardson is working with the eighty second Airborne they were they say leaked to the American military service due to these men tell her stories they've not told often even better. The reluctance of these men to go into war again. They were jumping into they knew that they would find when they hit the ground because they'd done before. They wanted all of you to do it again. War changes. She goes to war she later says innocent. She begins to lose that night. She used some of the ideas she begins as she sees war scenes the cost to understand as the war moves to prance was prepared to move with it. She gets to ride on a small plane headed prepares the piper cub went down in heavy one of roughly.
50 million deaths in World War 2 one of several hundreds of thousands of Americans who died in World War 2. Just one death. But when you know the person. That death takes on larger media. Or what I think the lives Richardson's story tells us that World War 2 is more ambiguous than we sometimes think it is. It's not just about good or bad right or wrong. She had no doubt whatsoever that this war. Had to be one. She had no doubt that the Nazis really were evil. At the same time. She saw enough of this war to know that there were very high costs paid on all sides including the American side. And side the way in which they fought it was not always as clear and right as perhaps it ought to have. This she knew. Here were the words elusive now to capture what she loved if she knew how. Each shining days in
Sienna Hill and rain soaked sod. Wrapped around their spouse and made her sit down. And that's just going to do it for this trip across Indiana. I would like to thank Major Brokaw not only for joining us on this trip but for your dedicated service to this country. Thank you so much. Thank you Michel. Thanks for having me. The role of women in our world has changed dramatically over the years. And you might say that it all began back in the decade of the war. That's when a nation of women took to the factories and to the front with a strength and a resiliency that had never been tested in just this way before. Hoosier women answer the call with no less fervor than the rest forging victory out of the work ethic and love of freedom and family that we continue to list as Indiana values to this very day. And you know what. The world is better for it. Thanks for watching. Country makers are fighting premium fuel like super He selects for premium fees along
with five years level of less refined here in the country will probably sponsor across India.
Across Indiana
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WFYI (Indianapolis, Indiana)
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Take a weekly journey across the cultural landscape of the Hoosier state. Host Michael Atwood and a team of award-winning producers explore the places, people and traditions that make Indiana a unique place to live and work. The program profiles interesting Hoosiers, from humble farmers to computer entrepreneurs and folk artists. Across Indiana blends heart, soul, humor and journalistic insight into a unique television program made by, and about, the people of Indiana.
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Copyright Holder: WFYI Indianapolis
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Chicago: “Across Indiana,” 2008-01-09, WFYI, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “Across Indiana.” 2008-01-09. WFYI, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Across Indiana. Boston, MA: WFYI, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from