Countdown to Spirit of '45 Day begins with annual "Memorial Day of Service" in Washington, D.C.
Jamie Sawatsky, from Rocky Run Middle School (left) carried the photo of George Watson in the 2013 National Memorial Day Parade. Wilson, an Army private who was killed in action in 1943, was one of seven African American soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor for their heroism during World War II,
Each year on Memorial Day youth volunteers come together to honor America's "Greatest Generation" by carrying the photos of those who gave their lives in service during World War II in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC.
National Memorial Day Parade - Monday, May 27, 2013
All volunteers receive Spirit of '45 Day caps & campaign pins, letters of commendation signed by the Chief Historian of the National Parks Service, Dr. Robert Sutton, and earn 6 hours of community service.
The National Memorial Day Parade is a televised public event and our group will be part of the opening ceremonies, so everyone must sign an Agreement of Release to participate.
2013 Spirit of '45 Memorial Day of Service is being coordinated by Jamie Sawatsky, Rocky Run Middle School, Chantilly, VA.
Contact Jamie to learn how you can participate!
Burke Theatre, US Navy Memorial
Each volunteer will receive an enlarged photo of one of the more than 400,000 Americans who gave their lives in World War II that are carried in the Parade each year as part of the "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive" section, including 266 posthumous recipients of Medal of Honor and the 66 Tuskegee Airmen who died defending freedom during the war.
We will be joined this year by Mr. Jerry Yellin,
a national spokesman for Spirit of '45 Day, the annual day of remembrance honoring
the men and women of the WWII generation which is observed each year on the second Sunday in August, and is the chairman of Operation Warrior Wellness,
an organization that his helping veterans deal with PTSD and related issues.
Mr. Yellin flew the final combat mission of World War II on August 14, 1945, and will be honoring his wingman, Phil Schlamberg, who was the last man to die in the war.
Also joining us will be Ms Kaylie Jones, whose father James Jones wrote the acclaimed WWII novels "From Here to Eternity" and "The Thin Red Line," based on his experiences as a Army combat infantryman serving in the Pacific.
His grand daughter will march in the Parade and lay a wreath at the National WWII Memorial in honor of her grandfather's comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Our guest speaker this year is Mr. Bob Patrick Director, Library of Congress Veterans History Project. Mr. Patrick served as Director of the National World war II Memorial Dedication and now oversees the nation's largest oral history project that documents the service of America's veterans, and was served as the director of the National World War II Memorial Dedication.
Following the briefing, volunteers walk two blocks with their photos two to the park area across Constitution Avenue for a "bring your own brown bag" lunch break and then take their places on the steps of the National Archives as part of the opening ceremonies for the National Memorial Day Parade.
Youth volunteers on the steps of the National Archives for the opening ceremonies of the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington. DC, as 50 white doves flew overhead (provided through the courtesy of Joseph Grawlers Sons, Inc.)
At the end of the ceremony group lines up in the World War II section of the Parade.
At approximately 2 PM, the group begin marching up Constitution Avenue from the National Archives to the National World War II Memorial where they pass in front of the Wall of Gold Stars that represents the more than 400,000 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice during the most destructive war in history.
Youth volunteers from Rocky Run Middle School of Chantilly, VA, pose for a photo at National WWII Memorial
Wall of Gold Stars at National World War II Memorial