This 94-year-old went to work as an original ‘Rosie’ during World War II. Now, she’s making face masks.
"Mae brings a positive feeling at a time when we're not feeling positive at all ... We're getting help from a lot of people."
LEVITTOWN, Pa. – Mae Krier, the Bristol Township woman who is trying to get a Congressional Gold Medal for the “Rosies,” the women who worked through World War II manufacturing armaments to support the military overseas, has received more than 700 requests for patriotic facemasks since her efforts to gain Congressional support for the medal were publicized recently.
Friends of Krier are helping her make the masks in patriotic fabrics, including red with white polka dots, just like the polka dot bandanna that Rosie the Riveter is pictured wearing in a 1943 poster made in honor of the women.
Krier, 94, was one of the original Rosies, having worked in a Boeing factory in Seattle, making B-17 and B-29 bombers, before she married and moved to Bucks County with her late husband, Norman Krier, who served in the Navy during World War II.
The House of Representatives has supported the medal for the Rosies but in the Senate, Bill 892, has not come up for a vote as yet. Pennsylvania Sen. Robert Casey re-introduced the bill last year and it has received support from his fellow Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick Toomey and 28 other Senators, but it needs to pass by 67 votes to avoid being filibustered.
Requests for the masks have come to Krier from around the country. One manufacturer in North Carolina even emailed to offer “all the elastic” Krier could need to make straps for the masks.
Deb Woolson of Phoenixville is helping Krier manage the Facebook account. She said she is struck by the beauty of the messages that are being sent along with the requests for masks, even from countries overseas.
One woman said she kept a Rosie the Riveter poster in her cubicle in the World Trade Center and it was what helped her escape the building collapse during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.”That's what got me out of there,” she wrote. Another was from a group of young women learning to be airplane mechanics.
“People are so touched by her,” Woolson said of Krier. “Mae brings a positive feeling at a time when we're not feeling positive at all … We're getting help from a lot of people.”
One of the people who wrote for a mask, John Nicholson of Phoenixville, said he can't help but wonder what members of the Greatest Generation who lived through World War II would think of the divisiveness today as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic. “The division and polarization, basically not doing what needs to be done is not how they handled a challenge,” he said.
He said he wanted to honor the Rosies who are still with us. “My parents are gone now but, like Mae, I'm sure their message to us would be, 'You can do this, just get to work, do what you have to do, and get it done.'”
©2020 the Erie Times-News (Erie, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.