There will be a lot more local history at next week’s Independence Day Parade in Lower Southampton.
To go with this year’s “Celebrating the Sights and Sounds of the U.S.A.” theme, the township’s long-standing event will include 91-year-old Mae Krier.
A Levittown native, Krier is recognized as a real-life “Rosie the Riveter,” one of the millions of women who worked in factories and shipyards during WWII. Krier herself worked at the Boeing Company manufacturing plant in Seattle, Washington. Starting there when she was 17, she and her sister, Lyola, built the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.
“I’m very proud of the role we played,” said Krier. “That was amazing, what the women did. We kicked in the doors and showed women were just as capable of doing those jobs.”
Over the last year or so, Krier’s been in the spotlight for her work in the ‘40s. For years, she’s been working to ensure Rosie the Riveters — named after the the iconic character in advertisements and songs during the war — are recognized for their role in the country’s history.
Those efforts brought Krier to the American Rosie the Riveter Association National Convention and Reunion in California last year. Meanwhile, she was mentioned by name in the House of Representative in Washington, D.C., when U.S. Rep Mike Fitzpatrick spoke in support of establishing a national Rosie the Riveter Day.
“Right now, it’s a really hot item,” said Krier. “Back then, we raised families. We didn’t think about Rosie going down in history.” Now, she notes, as her generation grows older, “Rosie needs all the help she can get” to ensure workers like her aren’t forgotten.
Locally, she was the guest of honor at this year’s Memorial Day Parade in Bensalem and also spoke at the Bensalem Rotary. Earlier this month, she was recognized at the Reading Air Show, and approached the Lower Southampton parade committee after being recommended by the Bensalem Historical Society.
At the parade, which kicks off at 1 p.m. in Feasterville, Krier will ride in a 1945 military Jeep. Owned and driven by local resident Bob Nieves, the vintage automobile made its own debut at last year’s parade.
A group of historians from the WWII Reenactment Unit from the U.S. 25th Infantry Living
History Unit will be another new addition this year. Elsewhere, members of the Warminster-based Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum will return for their second year with a float featuring a vintage fuselage from a WWII plane.
That’s all in addition to the many familiar sights and sounds of the long-standing event. Local string and jug bands, antique cars, local businesses, boys and girls sports team and organizations will all be there as well, along with perennial favorites like the baby and bicycle competitions.
“It’s going to be a big, great parade this year,” said Connie Perry, parade secretary. “A lot of fun, a lot of music. Everyone’s looking forward to it.”