News :: National Spirit of ’45 Day observed in hundreds of communities across the country this year! Share your stories!

August 18, 2011

11. Union Station, Washington, D.C.

Terry Shotkoski of Joseph Grawler's Sons, Inc (far right) provided the wreath for the closing ceremony that were held at Amtrak's Union Station and the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. Several other Dignity Memorial funeral homes hosted events again this year in California, Texas, North Carolina and other states. WWII veteran Arnold Taylor spoke movingly of his memories of the war during the National Spirit of '45 Day closing ceremony held at Union Station in Washington, D.C.

12. Navy Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Wall of Honor banner displayed at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Wall includes photos of more than 100 sailors and marines killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor, including Admiral Isaac Kidd who died aboard the USS Arizona. The Wall also includes photos of the 38 crew members of the his namesake the USS Kidd who died in a kamikaze attack during the battle of Okinawa.

13. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

The banner was displayed later in the Day on the steps on the National Archives where more than 400 youth will assemble each Memorial Day to honor the Gold Stars of World War II. A family from Dallss, TX volunteered to hold the banner for the photo. The three daughters have signed up to be part of the annual Spirit of '45 Memorial Day program when 400 youth gather on these steps with images of those who were KIA during WWII before marching in the National Memorial Day Parade and posing for a group photo at the World War II Memorial. Steve Smith, General Manager of the Hyatt on Capitol Hill, personally greeted Timmy and his parents during their stay as his guests in Washington, D.C. The hotel has become the official "base camp" for Spirit of '45" events in the nation's capitol on Memorial Day and Spirit of '45 Day. (Warren Hegg, national supervisor is next to Tim Kelly on the far right)

14. California State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA

Renowned artist Seward Johnson loaned three 6 ft replicas of his famous 25 ft sculpture inspired by the "kiss seen round the world" to groups that organized major Spirit of '45 events in Hawaii, California and Missouri this year. National Sponsoring Partner U-Haul donated the use of one of its trucks to transport the "Kiss Statues" from New Jersey to San Francisco where one of them was shipped to Hawaii. (Above) the "Spirit of '45" in front of the California State Capitol Building in Sacramento, CA. (Above) “The Kiss” is unveiled during a tribute to Edith Shain, the Times Square Nurse, during the 2-day Spirit of ’45 event held in San Jose’s History Park. (Below) The Kiss makes its debut at the event hosted by the Veterans Task Force of Branson, Missouri, “Where every day is Veterans Day.”

15. History Park, San Jose, CA

Click here for some of the sounds of Spirit from the San Jose event as Theresa Eamon sings the song Edith Shain heard on the radio on Tuesday, August 14, 1945, before she rushed out to Times Square where she received the “kiss seen round the world.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fi-Em0rN2QY

Click here for some photos from the West Coast Weekend event BayAreaSpiritof45

Click here for coverage of the San Jose 2-day event http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_18682790?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

Robert Corpus holds poster photos of WWII veterans May Alm and her husband Maurice during the Spirit of '45 weekend event at San Jose's History Park. May served as an Army Nurse with General Patton's 3rd Army during the Battle of the Bulge. WWII re-enactors were a popular feature at several Spirit of '45 events around the country. (Above) a convoy of WWII vehicles escorts veterans and the "Times Square Kiss" statue into the 14 acre History Park in San Jose. Next year's plans include making this 2-day event the largest WWII re-enactor reunion on the West Coast with the convoy traveling over the Golden Gate Bridge to Silicon Valley to signal the beginning of the 2012 Spirit of '45 weekend in California.

16. SS Jeremiah O’Brien, Pier 45, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, CA

Dennis Koller, executive director of the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, interviews Merchant Mariner Dae Baird, who was accompanied to the Spirit of '45 event held on Pier 45 on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf on August 6-7. Seated next to Dae is Thelda Kothe who worked as a "Rosie" in an aircraft manufacturing plant during the war.

17. Naples Backyard, Naples, FL

Dr. Lois Bolin helped coordinate events throughout the state of Florida this year, including her signature program led by Naples Backyard, a community museum that created a public-privarte partnership with businesses and nonprofit organizations in Naples for the second year in a row. Lois is helping with outreach to other community museums and heritage groups that want to take advantage of National Spirit of '45 Day as a way to better fulfill their mission.

Watch Lois’  Lois Bolin’s terrific interview on Fox this week

18. Fort Meyers Beach, FL

Steve Sersha, center, of Cape Coral, stands in formation before the 21-gun salute during the Keep the Spirit of 45 Alive ceremony at Fort Myers Beach on Sunday evening. Sersha served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific in 1945 and joined dozens of veterans, Fort Myers Beach city and fire department officials, Lee County Sheriff's Office deputies, representatives from the American Red Cross, VFW and American Legion Posts throughout Lee County, and members of the public gathered at Crescent Beach Park on Sunday evening to pay tribute to the men and women who served in WWII. In addition to the beach ceremony, WWII veterans enjoyed dinner "on the house" from Pinchers Crab Shack on Fort Myers Beach. Photo Tristan Spinski of Naplesnews.com

Click here for more great photos of Spirit of ’45 Southwest Florida

19. Florida Museum of History, Tallahassee, FL

John O'Farrell, an 87-year-old veteran of World War II and member of the World War II Historical Society, said history is everywhere in Tallahassee, it's just tough to locate it sometimes. Farrell's wife Elizabeth served as a Navy nurse during WWII. They were part of a Spirit of '45 Day event hosted by the Florida Museum of History that included an extensive exhibit of WWII memorabilia for veterans and the public to enjoy. The exhibit also included a list of Florida veterans who died in the war and a video that played through the afternoon. A copy of Elizabeth's memoir of her wartime experiences was on display at the museum bookstore.

A growing number of smaller towns organized excellent Spirit of ’45 Day events this year to honor  the “ordinary heroes” of the WWII generation from their communities.

« Previous   l   Next »

Back to News