- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2000

The new Rosie the Riveter Memorial stands in a peaceful park between two rows of new, stylish town houses.

But it stands on ground that, half a century ago, was the bustling Shipyard No. 2, where nearly 100,000 people, a quarter of them women, built hundreds of ships to supply American soldiers fighting World War II.

The memorial is the same size roughly 441 feet as the Liberty and Victory ships that were built by the people it honors.

Dedicated in Marina Bay in Richmond, Calif., it was designed by two Bay Area artists, Cheryl Barton and Susan Schwartzenberg, who were chosen out of a field of 75 artistic teams.

What they created is "a memorial in parts," says Donna Graves, the consultant who oversaw both the artistic competition for, and construction of, the memorial.

"Taken as a whole, it evokes the size and scope and import of a Victory ship," says Miss Graves. "It was designed to evoke the scale of what people were producing in Richmond."

The length of a Victory ship, it also suggests its shape. There are two structures, the first being the abstraction of a ship's hull, based on the look of blueprints. That structure is covered in ladders to recall the shipyard's scaffolding.

Another structure evokes the stack of a Victory ship. In between are two gardens that take the place of the holds that carried supplies to U.S. soldiers all over the world.

Through them all runs a concrete walkway inlaid with quotes from women who worked in the shipyards, as well as with dates relating to the progress of the war and to the progress made by the female workers, many of them minorities who had never had a chance at decent industrial jobs before.

Finally, the underfoot narrative reaches the end of the war as the memorial juts into the bay in the shape of a ship's observation platform, mimicking the bow of a ship.

Gazing out toward the bay, one looks down and sees these words, engraved on the very front of the "ship": "You must tell your children, putting modesty aside, that without us, without women, there would have been no spring in 1945."

• Distributed by Scripps Howard.

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