Join the Worldwide Tribute to a Generation
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Welcome home, Alexander BonnymanThe remains of Medal of Honor recipient Alexander "Sonny" Bonnyman were returned to his hometown of Knoxville, TN on September 27, 2015, more than 70 years after he was KIA on November 23, 1943, during the battle of Tarawa.  More...
Public wreath laying ceremonies honoring America's WWII generation are being held at locations
around the world - all on the same historic day!
The Tribute begins at the American Cemetery in the Philippines, and continue westward to the American cemeteries in Europe and across the United States, from the East Coast to Hawaii. 
 Register your wreath laying Tribute here!
Need a flyer to publicize
your Tribute?
To download a template
click here!
Click on the image for a PDF copy. 
 Handmade Spirit of '45 wreath designed by  
Dixie Pickart Ladies Auxiliary
Military Order of the Purple Hearts
In the U.S , wreath laying ceremonies are being organized at national and state veterans cemeteries with the support of Dignity Memorial's national network of funeral homes and cemeteries, Bugles Across America, the VA National Cemeteries Administration, veterans organizations, members of the "We Honor Veterans" collaborative, and other groups.
Check with your local VA Cemetery for a wreath laying near you.
Ceremonies are also being held at memorials, museums and other locations throughout the country.  Families and community members are encouraged to bring photos of their WWII veterans and share their stories.
Wreath laying eremonies are planned at locations along the East Coast, from Maine to Florida, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery,  the National WWII Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, the Battleship New Jersey, and the East Coast WWII Memorial in New York's Battery Park where 45 members of Bugles Across American will sound "Taps."  WWII Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Herschel Woodrow "Woody" Williams will be placing the Tribute wreath during the Spirit of '45 70th Anniversary Commemoration events at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Texas.  
Scarlett Johansson calls on America's families to keep the Spirit of '45 alive!
Actress Scarlett Johannson, whose great uncle, Phil Schlamberg, was the last man to die in combat on August 14, 1945, is urging families to honor their loved ones who were members of the Greatest Generation on the 70th Anniversary of their greatest day.                                                                                       To see the video, click on the image of Scarlett and national   Spirit of '45 spokesman Jerry Yellin who flew with Phil on the final mission of WWII.
Elton John's salute to the Greatest Generation
We are deeply grateful to Universal Music Enterprises for granting the worldwide rights to "Oceans Away" for use in the the 2015 70th Anniversary Tribute video. Elton's mother served in WWII as an "ack ack girl" during the Battle of Britain when British Spitfires literally saved the world (Bernie Taupin's father was an RAF pilot during the war.)  The video is available for downloading to all participating organizations for their Spirit of '45 70th Anniversary Commemoration events.   "Oceans Away" will be performed by the Medical Musical Group during their concerts at the National World War II Memorial on Saturday, August 15, and at the Schlesinger Center in Arlington, VA on Sunday, August 16. 
Click here or a live performance with Elton's personal commentary 
Send us your photo or a video of your performance!   

Chancellor Heilman rallies the American Legion Riders
Dr. E. Bruce Heilman is calling on all American Legion Riders to support the Tribute by participating, or organizing wreath laying ceremonies at the veterans cemeteries in their local communities.  The Riders shadowed Dr. Heilman during his historic 6,000 mile solo motorcycle in MLay honoring the Gold Stars of WWII, and joined him in the National Memorial Day Parade.                                                                          Dr. Heilman, 89, who saw combat during the battle of Okinawa and was part of the postwar Occupation of Japan, is leading a group of 70 WWII veterans who will attend ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 5th and 9th as part of the spokesman of The Greatest Generations Foundation who organized the tour.  He will stop off in Hawaii on his return home to be the guest speaker at the final Tribute wreath laying that will be held in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific where he announced his epic cross country Ride on March 23 while en route home from the 70th anniversary ceremonies in Iwo Jima to Richmond, VA where he is the Chancellor of the University of Richmond.   Dr. Heilman has been invited by the Riders to join them on their annual Legacy Run from Indianapolis to the American Legion national convention in Baltimore, MD later in August. 
Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) have been asked by their National Commander Pat Little to organize Tribute wreath laying ceremonies in their communities.  The Ladies Auxiliary of the MOPH are also participating by creating handmade wreaths for ceremonies.  
Several MOPH chapters made donations to the Spirit of '45 Day Express when it traveled throughout the country in 2014 building up public awareness about the 70th Anniversary and the Tribute.  The Express was invited to the MOPH's national convention in Las Vegas (August 5 - 9), to help start the countdown to 70th Anniversary Commemoration Weekend of the following week. 
Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart at the gravesite of Senator Dan Inouye, where the final wreath laying ceremony of the 70th Anniversary around the world Tribute will take place on Sunday, August 16, 2015.
How the Tribute began:  A Spirit of '45 Day Annual Tradition 
One of the cornerstones of Spirit of '45 Day each year has been the "Tribute to America's Greatest Generation" -- a cross country wreath laying ceremony that takes place in hundreds of communities on the second Sunday in August.   
The number of these community ceremonies has increased steadily each year since 2010, as communities across America take this opportunity to honor the courage, shared sacrifice, can do attitude, and selfless service of the men and women who were the ordinary heroes of the WWII generation, so that their legacy will continue to inspire future generations of Americans, especially the youth of our country. 
The late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, one of the co-sponsors of Spirit of '45 Day when it was passed unanimously by the U.S. Congress in August 2010, is buried in the Punchbowl.

Sen. Inouye served during WWII as a member of the famous all Japanese American 442nd Combat Infantry Regiment, losing an arm in a grenade explosion. He received many military honors, including the Medal of Valor, and continued to serve his country as an elected official from the state of Hawaii and was the President pro tempore of the United States Senate from 2010 until his death on December 17, 2012. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously.  
The countdown to this year's Tribute was announced at the National Press Club in Washington, DC and a wreath placed at his gravesite in the Punchbowl on the anniversary of his death this December.  
(Left) Representatives of major veterans organizations, elected officials and Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive coalition partners announced preparations for the 70th Anniversary commemoration at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  (Right) In Hawaii, Dr. Richard Small of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Jay Morford, President, Hawaiian Memorial Life Plan, Ltd. (Dignity Memorial) and Mel Kalahiki, Manager, Borthwick Mortuary (Dignity Memorial) placed a wreath at the grave of the late Senator Dan Inouye, who passed away on December 17, 2012.  Read the press release...
Military Order of the Purple Heart National Commander Pat Little is calling on the leaders of all veterans groups to take part in the 2015 "Tribute" to show solidarity in honoring their shared heritage of service and sacrifice.  
The MOPH is mobilizing its national network of regions, departments and chapters to help organize wreath laying ceremonies in all of its Purple Heart Cities, Counties and States and other affiliated organizations. helped support the cross country tour of the Spirit of '45 Day Express last year, as it traveled more than 46,000 miles through 45 states to raise public awareness about the 70th Anniversary.  More...
Pat Little, National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, announces "Tribute" in Times Square on August 14, 2014. Pat's first act as National Commander was to honor the memory of fellow Army veteran Felix Sparks, who led the 3rd Army Battalion of the 157th Infantry Regiment that liberated Dachau concentration camp on April 29, 1945. Pat and his colleagues were joined by Sparks' wife Mary and members of his family.
Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart will be holding its "Tribute" at the World War II Memorial in Savannah, GA.
Navy League Members to Pay Tribute to All Seaborne Services
In July 2014, the Board of Directors of the Navy League voted unanimously to encourage its members to participate in Spirit of '45 Day, who are being asked to organize or participate in wreath laying ceremonies at all of the Navy Memorial's "Lone Sailor" and "Homecoming" statues as part of the 2015 70th anniversary around the ceremony.  Members are also being encouraged to support the surviving WWII era ships, a number of which are hosting special events in 2015.
Senior Living Communities and Care Givers 
Since 2010, the American Society on Aging and the Assisted Living Federation of America have been promoting awareness and participation among its national network of senior living communities and care givers, and is helping spread the word about the 70th Anniversary Commemoration and the "Tribute."
Atria Senior Living has been hosting annual Spirit of '45 Day events at all of its 189 communities for the past three years, receiving the 2012 Spirit of '45 Day National Community Partner Award.
We Honor Veterans
Also participating in the 2015 "Tribute" are members of "We Honor Veterans," a joint program of the VA and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, that promotes regional veterans hospice partne rships among hospices that help serve the end-of-life needs of veterans and their families.  "We Honor Veterans" has been a strong supporter of the ongoing campaign to encourage public participation in Spirit of '45 Day each year in August.
For example, in 2014, the Rhode Island Veterans Partnership, led by Beacon Hospice, an Amedysis company, hosted more than 20 ceremonies at different locations throughout the state.  
This year, Elizabeth Hospice in San Diego held a media event on December 15, 2015, calling out to all Hospice Veterans Partnerships across the country to join them in organizing wreath laying ceremonies in their communities next August.
America's Funeral Homes participating in the Tribute
Funeral homes across the country are actively participating in the "Tribute."  
For example, members of the Dignity Memorial network - the nation's largest provider of funeral and cemetery services - have been hosting events in their communities, and donating their signature Spirit of '45 wreaths to groups that organize ceremonies in their communities.  
Carriage Services is encouraging all of its fellow funeral service and cemetery owners across America to host "WWII Family Reunions" on Sunday, August 16, to honor their loved ones who were members of our Greatest Generation.
Bugles Across America volunteers performing "Taps"
Bugles Across America has been supporting the annual "Tribute" by providing volunteer buglers who are recruited through the nonprofit's website which maintains a database of more than 7,000 buglers. 
This past year, Auston O'Neill, Jr., a BAA member from Centreville, VA, traveled with his wife, Bonnie throughout the country in their motorhome to help publicize Spirit of '45 Day and raise public awareness about the upcoming 70th Anniversary commemoration.  The Spirit of '45 Day National Unity Tour logged more than 45,000 miles, visiting over than 100 communities to encourage them to participate in the 2015 "Tribute." 
Auston O'Neill, Jr. on tour: performing "Taps" at the Nevada State Veterans Home in Las Vegas, NV, shaking hands with Bugles Across America founder Tom Day at the Elks National Veterans Memorial, Chicago, IL.  With Spirit of '45 Day national spokesman, Gen. James P. Thayer, at the Oregon State Veterans Home in Portland, OR that is named after him.
The American WWII War Orphans have also been actively participating in the annual "Tribute" in communities throughout America as a way to honor their fathers who were KIA during World War II.
National Cemetery in Utah, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA, the Iwo Jima Survivors Memorial in Newington,CT, and the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
                 San Antonio, TX McHenry, IL Sarasota, FL