Next week, Soskin is flying off to Washington, D.C., where she has been invited to introduce President Barack Obama and his family during the White House's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
During World War II, Soskin worked for the all-black auxiliary of a segregated boilermakers union in Richmond, and today gives talks and leads tours for the city's Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park. In fact, Soskin was in the middle of one of her presentations to a group of students when she received an urgent call from National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis telling her she had been invited to spend time with the first family.
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt announced the news on his e-forum over the weekend.
Reached by phone on Monday, Reid Soskin said the White House has asked her to hold off on giving media interviews. (They wanted to be the first to release the news.) But on her blog, www.cbreaux.blogspot.com, Soskin could hardly hide her excitement about receiving the news.
"I was stunned," she wrote of the moment she received the invitation from the White House. "I'm not sure where my feet were, but somehow they fell into place beneath me and took me back into the theater where a film was still in progress ... (Then) after taking a few quieting breaths, I was able to pick up the next few sentences of my presentation, and allow the excitement to be quelled until the work was done."
She later took a walk to the edge of the Bay shoreline to let the momentous nature of the news soak in. Then, she made it a point to go to the store and buy a good pair of boots. Even the toughest Rosie needs a proper wardrobe for an East Coast winter.
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