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Ship christening and launching celebrations brought the entire community together. Prominent political leaders and citizens were frequent participants in these occasions. The wives and daughters of these VIP's played a more traditional role in these gatherings, in contrast to the untraditional roles that women served as laborers in the shipyard. In some ways, their presence served as a reassurance that the wartime participation of women in the industrial workforce was a temporary aberration from cultural norms.

Very Special Guests

Pictured here is Mildred DeLaney Slemons Arnall, wife of Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia, christening the Joseph R. Lamar during a ceremonial Liberty ship launching. The governor is standing behind her as she begins to swing the bottle. Swinging the bottle was a task traditionally reserved for females during ship christening rituals. The governor's presence at his wife's side, however, indicates that his authority remains important to the meaning of the ceremony.

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