Statue to honor 'Rosie the Riveter' just in time for Veteran's Day in Wood-Ridge

Lauren Glassberg Image
Monday, November 10, 2014
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Lauren Glassberg has the story from Wood-Ridge.

WOOD-RIDGE, N.J. (WABC) -- Tuesday is Veterans Day when we will honor all the men and women who served our country on the battlefield.

Monday, there was a special tribute in New Jersey for the women who supported our troops here at home known as "Rosie the Riveter."

She's petite in stature, but Elinor Otto sure is mighty.

At 95 she still works the line making airplane engines, something she started doing in 1942.

She was 22 and joined the workforce to support the war effort.

She's an original "Rosie the Riveter".

"It was very challenging and exciting to know we were capable of doing men's work. We didn't know at first if we could," Otto said.

But she did and turned it into a career.

Now, on the eve of Veteran's Day, she visited the "Rosie the Riveter" statue that sits on what was the Curtiss Wright Complex in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey where engines for bomber planes were produced.

The statue went up a year ago along with the multi-use development. Elinor was quite taken with the statue.

"I want to take it home with me ha-ha, that big rivet gun they think I can't use it, it's very powerful, but I can," Otto said.

That's something that isn't lost on this veteran.

"Without them we wouldn't have had any equipment to fly, there's thousands of bombers and fighter planes," said Ret. Capt. Jerry Yellin," a U.S. veteran.

Elinor's now riveting at Douglass Aircraft. She's been there for 49 years. Next year the plant is shutting down, long before Elinor's ready to quit. Her motto is "keep moving".

"You get to a certain age, 'Oh I'm too old for that.' If you can do it, do it. It doesn't matter how old you are, that's all," Otto said.

As for the Curtiss wright plant, engines haven't actually been made there in decades. It is two million square feet of space that will one day also be redeveloped.

But there will always be a reminder of what went on there when the nation was in need.