This week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced the U.S. ten dollar bill will be changed. Alexander Hamilton’s portrait is to be retired. A woman of national prominence will replace Mr. Hamilton.

Secretary Lew in making the announcement encouraged the public to provide suggestions using the Treasury’s website. Having a few suggestions of my own, I did visit the Treasury’s website. Locating the link to the Ten Dollar Bill program, I found the site to be non-operational or at least not populated with data or instructions. So my fall back plan is to suggest my favorite woman for this high honor via the Atlantic Highlands Herald.

Watching the evening news last night, a few noteworthy candidates were suggested by the public, people at large being interviewed through various news organizations. Pocahontas, Sacagawea, Eleanor Roosevelt topped the list. While I hold all of these ladies in high regard, I offer an alternate candidate worthy of this high honor- Rosie the Riveter.

My suggestion might raise a few eyebrows or be easily dismissed. A short history lesson and clarity to my suggestion might change your opinion. If I were designing a new ten dollar bill, I would have Rosie the Riveter on the front of the bill, a revised female portrait demonstrating the perseverance, fortitude and strength of the nation, exemplifying the war time contributions of women coast to coast. A portrait of high integrity and meaningful artistic merit. On the reverse or back of the bill, I would place a World War II battleship on the high seas and a military aircraft (B-25) flying overhead. Why this design and suggestion?

In essence Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of our country. She represents millions of American women who worked in America’s factories during World War II.   With men volunteering and conscripted to fight the Great War overseas, a labor shortage developed. By some accounts nearly 19 million women held jobs during World War II. Is it not time to give credit and recognition where it is due? I advocated a battle ship and military aircraft on the reverse of the bill. Only fitting as a realistic tie in to Rosie’s war time role. The U.S.S. New Jersey now docked in Camden as a museum ship is a testimonial to women supporting national defense. Hundreds of initials of women who worked on and built the ship can be seen on the steel hull (interior). Their role in the wartime effort cannot be denied. I advocate a WW II plane on the reverse as well, simply because Rosie the riveter is often depicted working on the assembly line producing aircraft.

We pay tribute to those who wear the military uniform defending the nation. As a veteran myself, I know from firsthand experience that a war is fought on many fronts. Reflecting on the last century, when the soldier, sailor, airman or marine deployed, it was the spouse, mother, or sister who managed the home, raised the children, cared for others and produced the armaments of war. Though I am a few weeks early, Happy Fourth of July to ALL who served.  

Gerald Thomas
Atlantic Highlands, NJ