The Douglas County Veterans Day Parade Committee has named “Generations of Military Families” as this year’s grand marshal, and special honors for “Rosie the Riveters.” Generations of military families have been serving, defending, and dying long before we were a country.

According to the National Guard’s website, the first militia regiments in North America were organized in Massachusetts on December 13, 1636. Those units are today known as the 181st Infantry Regiment, the 182nd Infantry Regiment, the 101st Field Artillery Regiment and the 101st Engineer Battalion.

Recognizing the need for a formal military during the Revolutionary War, on June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress authorized the formation of the Continental Army — the precursor for today’s United States Army. On Oct. 13 of the same year, the Continental Congress authorized the formation of the Continental Navy, followed by the formation of the Marine Corps on Nov. 10.

The United States Coast Guard was founded August 4, 1790, as the “Revenue Cutter Service” and was under the Department of the Treasury (it’s currently under the Department of Homeland Security).

The United States Merchant Marine Corps, although arguably in existence in one form or another since before the founding of the nation, was officially founded March 15, 1938.

A late bloomer, the United States Air Force was established September 18,1947 — it was part of the Army before that date.

Rosie the Riveter: An icon of World War II, developed to recruit women into the work force. According to “In movies, newspapers, posters, photographs and articles, the Rosie the Riveter campaign stressed the patriotic need for women to enter the workforce. On May 29, 1943, the Saturday Evening Post published a cover image by the artist Norman Rockwell, portraying Rosie with a flag in the background and a copy of Adolph Hitler’s racist tract ‘Mein Kampf’ under her feet.

“Though Rockwell’s image may be a commonly known version of Rosie the Riveter, her prototype was actually created in 1942 by a Pittsburgh artist name J. Howard Miller, and was featured on a poster for Westinghouse Electric Corporation under the headline ‘We Can Do It!’

“Early in 1943, a popular song debuted called ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb, and the name went down in history.”

The impact of Rosie the Riveters cannot be overstated. Not only did Rosies ensure the dominance of the United States arms production and help win World War II, the fact of so many women entering the workforce generated a cultural awareness of women’s value to society that continues to this day. Want to know more about Rosie the Riveter? Visit the American Rosie the Riveter Association website at

With less than eight months to go until the Veterans Day Parade, now is the time to start planning for your float. Grab some friends and decorate your car, camper, bus, trailer, or whatever, in a patriotic theme, and see what a parade is like from the street. Information on how to register for the parade will come in a later column.

Do you have information of interest to Douglas County veterans? Contact John McDonald at or 541-580-6178. He is a combat veteran with more than 18 years of military service and serves in the Oregon National Guard. He is also a member of the Douglas County Veterans Forum, and the Douglas County Veterans Advisory Committee.

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