Nightly News   |  October 17, 2013

Nation’s oldest park ranger back on the job

Now that the government shutdown has ended, park ranger Betty Reid Soskin was finally able to return to the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park. That first day back after being furloughed, she said, made her feel like a kid again. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally here tonight, of all those federal workers who got dressed for work today and headed back to their jobs for the first time since the government shutdown , perhaps no one was more delighted to be at her post than a woman named betty reed soskin, whose job it is to give a firsthand account of working women during world war ii . she knows the story so well because she lived it. tonight she's telling it once again, her story from nbc's kristen dalgren.

>> reporter: for most 92-year-olds, work is a thing of the past.

>> yes, we're open today.

>> reporter: but for betty reed soskin, being back on the job today made her feel like a kid again.

>> it was like going to school for the first day after summer.

>> reporter: well, let me show you. come on.

>> reporter: ranger betty is the world's oldest park ranger . based at the world war ii park in richmond, california and out of the work for 16 days . we first caught up with ranger betty as she struggled with the shutdown.

>> time for me is precious. my whole identity has become under that hat.

>> reporter: but it's not just the hat. ranger betty, whose great-grandmother was born into slave slavery, lives to teach about the greatest mobilization of workers in u.s. history . women nicknamed rosie the riveters along with workers from the segregated south all coming together to build ships, sometimes launching one a day.

>> this park gives us a chance and a way to go back and revisit that era that we moved through too fast to learn from.

>> reporter: like lessons in working together that betty says could have come in handy in washington.

>> have you ever in your 92 years seen anything like this?

>> no.

>> reporter: for more than two weeks, no one was allowed into the park, including surviving rosies here for a reunion last weekend.

>> reporter: even the rosies.

>> there was an explosion.

>> reporter: but today ranger betty is back, welcoming everyone with a smile and the perspective only a 92-year-old can give.

>> it was disconcerting because i live with a sense of urgency now. it's a period where if i don't get it right, i don't have time to do it again.

>> reporter: a living bridge to history.

>> okay, see you.

>> reporter: just happy to be back on the job. kristen dalgren, nbc news.

>>> thank you for being with us. i'm brian williams . we, of course, hope to see you back here tomorrow evening.