As we honor and celebrate veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our country, I also want to pay homage to those who gave of themselves on the homefront. In particular, I want to spotlight women during WWII who took up the slack, as the men served in the military.
My mother, Lorene Goessman, who just celebrated her 92nd birthday, was a “Rosie the Riveter.” She was a welder and helped make LST landing boats in Seneca, Ill.
Several years ago there was an LST ship docked in Alton. As my mother and I toured the boat, she showed me where she would lie on the lip of the ship. It was a small space but as a slim young woman, she just fit on the ledge. She relayed that it was common for a welder to move too far and fall off the ledge into the Illinois River.
I’ve seen the photos of my mother in her welding suit and full facial helmet. I’ve also seen how she struggles to breathe due to the fact as a “Rosie” welder she was protected with an asbestos blanket and as a result has asbestosis. She never complains about her ailment but has just lived with it. It was just a result of doing her service to her country, like so many others.
Nothing can compare to the sacrifices our veterans have given for the continued freedom of this country. I also salute our unsung “Rosie the Riveters.”
Thank you, mother, and all the women of your generation who gave so unselfishly.
Cheryl Goessman Maguire
It has been so encouraging to see everything new happening around the Alton area. We’ve seen new restaurants and businesses opening, new festivals and concerts coming to town, old buildings and homes being purchased and rehabilitated, our disgraceful roads being repaved (and I am hoping that the entire stretch of Ninth Street will soon be next). Recently we celebrated the unveiling of the Miles Davis statue.
But as we celebrate this Veterans Day, I am wondering; where is our memorial to our veterans? I long to see the Doughboy statue returned to a prominent place in our city, although I understand why it was moved to the VFW and it is also a fitting place. It seems, though, that if we can erect a statue of a person who lived in Alton only the first year of his life, and a statue of a person with a pituitary problem, we should have some memorial to those hometown men and women who sacrificed so that we can live in freedom, especially for those whose lives were cut short in that sacrifice. I hope as our town continues to experience what I hope is a revitalization, that we consider memorializing those who made it all possible.