Betty Reid Soskin — the famous park ranger at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond — has been invited to introduce President Barack Obama at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 3.
In her blog, the 94-year-old Soskin, the nation’s oldest park ranger, wrote about the excitement from receiving the invite by phone from National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis:
“I was stunned. I’m not sure where my feet were,” she said.
The National Park Foundation and National Park Service are holding the 93rd National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, which features a performance from several notable musical acts including Hall of Famers David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash.
Soskin is the great-granddaughter of a slave and at age 20 worked as a clerk at the all-black auxiliary of a segregated boilermakers union in Richmond during World War II. She began her career with NPS at the age of 85 and was a driving force behind the formation of Richmond’s national park. Among her duties, she conducts speaking engagements, bus tours, and gives presentations at the park’s visitors’ center.