Maui News

Maui’s ‘Rosie the Riveter’ exudes ‘girl power,’ hailed at 81st Pearl Harbor anniversary today

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Lucille “Cille” (Jones) MacDonald embraces a Pearl Harbor survivor. Courtesy: Dodo Dunaj
  • Maui resident Lucille “Cille” (Jones) MacDonald, 96, shows her Rosie the Riveter uniform. Courtesy: Dodo DunajCourtesy: Dodo Dunaj
  • Lahaina resident Lucille “Cille” (Jones) MacDonald is seen with other Rosies and a World War II survivor. Courtesy: Dodo Dunaj
  • Maui resident Lucille “Cille” (Jones) MacDonald, 96, is greeted at the 81st Pearl Harbor Commemoration in Honolulu. Courtesy: Dodo Dunaj
  • Artist J. Howard Miller made this work-incentive poster, an icon that became associated with Rosie the Riveter.

When Pearl Harbor was bombed 81 years ago, Lahaina resident Lucille “Cille” (Jones) MacDonald said she was ready to leave home and fight.

“When the bomb was dropped in Honolulu, I was ready to leave and go fight right then, but I was female and we didn’t do any of that fighting stuff then,” MacDonald, now 96, told Maui Now.  

MacDonald did find a way to serve, though. She and millions of other women during World War II worked in shipyards and factories to fill gaps left by men going to battle. Their service became a wartime symbol of female effort and strength known as “Rosie the Riveter.”

The longtime Maui resident and a handful of other “Rosies” were recognized today as part of the 81st Pearl Harbor Commemoration events at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Honolulu.  MacDonald and four other “Rosies” were honored in a parade.

“It’s been fun today,” MacDonald said during pre-ceremony events Tuesday. “And to have people thank you. They say, ‘Thank you for serving.’ I never really thought of it like that. But it makes me want to cry every time I hear it.”


She said meeting the other “Rosies” was “wonderful.” 

Recruiting campaigns during the war urged women to enter the workforce as part of a patriotic duty to their country, according to the US Department of Defense. An iconic depiction of a “Rosie” is a wartime poster of a strong, confident female worker, flexing her muscle with the words emblazoned above: “We Can Do It.”

In 2020, the Department of Labor inducted the nearly 6 million women who served as “Rosie the Riveters” into its Hall of Honor. Rosie the Riveter Day on March 21 honors the legacy of the women whose work supported the war effort and push for continued equity for women in nontraditional jobs.

MacDonald said she was very patriotic as a teen when she began doing defense work. First, she began working in a factory that made military belts. At age 18, she moved to Georgia to work on a shipyard as a journeyman welder for J.A. Jones Construction.

After only a few days on the job, bosses discovered she was an “excellent welder.” She worked seven days a week to build ships. 


“I had a lot of burns… a lot of hot metal was dripping and dropping and ventilation wasn’t that great,” she said. “It was hard times during those days.”

Still, pride for her work and for her country were things MacDonald recalls about her time as a “Rosie” up until the war ended in 1945.

For MacDonald, hard work was all she knew.

She grew up on a farm in South Carolina in a family of eight children.

“We had to work hard; there was a lot of us to feed and clothe,” she said. “I’m willing to do my part, like I still am. At 97 (MacDonald turns 97 on Friday), I’m still willing to do my part.”


MacDonald met her late husband, Jack Goodman, in 1945, and they moved to Maui in 1974. They have three children, Jack, Cristine and Tom.

Even at 96, MacDonald, who has volunteered over decades with various Maui projects, admitted she doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. 

“I’m very busy,” she said.

Working hard is a quality she hopes that young people will practice.

“Number one: Don’t ever give up, kids. Keep trying. Work harder — don’t ever, ever, ever give up,” MacDonald said. “Because if you do, you’re finished. You got to keep hoping it’s going to get better. And it will. You’ve got to work toward it.”


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