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DC Teen Wants National Memorial for WWII Women

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A Washington, D.C. teenager believes an important monument has been missing from her hometown’s landscape.

And she’s doing something about it.

Raya Kenney, 18, founded the National Memorial to the Women Who Worked on the Home Front Foundation.

Her mission is to get a monument built in honor of the women who worked on the home front during World War II.

“Have to keep that motto in mind, ‘We can do it.’ There are setbacks, it takes a long time, there’s a lot of waiting for things to be done, but we can do it,” she told CBS News.

As a fifth grader, Kenney became enamored with the 1992 film, “A League of Their Own,” a fictionalized account of a real-life 1940s women’s pro baseball league.

Her obsession turned into research about female war efforts and cultural icon Rosie the Riveter.

“While I had heard of Rosie the Riveter, I really had no idea how important these women were to the war efforts and how vast their responsibilities were,” Kenney wrote on her foundation website.

What started as a fifth grade assignment to build a model monument for someone who wasn’t already being honored, has turned into a real-life effort.

The monument is aimed at paying tribute the nearly 19 million women who held jobs during World War II, many of whom built munitions and war supplies, sometimes taking new jobs to replace the men who joined the military.

“I love watching the WWII vets come to my home town of Washington, DC on the tour buses to view their memorial; they are so proud and I have often seen people stop and clap for them,” Kenney wrote. “I think the women who helped on the home front and were so instrumental in the war deserve the same recognition.”

Kenney has already drafted a memorial act and secured the assistance of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), who sent letters to colleagues to garner co-sponsors for the bill. Kenney also secured a law firm to provide pro bono assistance.

To learn more, visit Kenney’s website at whfnmf.org.

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