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News :: The American World War II Orphans Network (AWON)
 

April 8, 2010

The Veterans Administration estimates that approximately 183,000 “war orphans” were left fatherless by World War II, the children of the more than 400,000 men who did not return from World War II who are represented by the 4000 stars engraved on the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC


The American WWII Orphans Network (www.AWON.org) is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that provides support to the approximately 183,000 children of the more than 400,000 men who did not return from World War II who are represented by the 4,000 stars that are engraved on the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.

AWON was founded in 1991 by Ann Bennett Mix, whose father, Sydney Bennett, was killed in action on April 19, 1945, 13 days before Germany surrendered, while serving with the 10th Mountain Division, 87th Mt Infantry, when his daughter was only four and a half years old. He is buried in the American Cemetery in Florence, Italy.

AWON members participated in the press conference that was held in New York’s Times Square on August 14, 2009 to announce the Spirit of ’45 initiative, and took part in the official kick off ceremonies for the national campaign that were held on the USS Midway in San Diego on January 18.

AWON’s membership is helping to build public awareness about the campaign and are writing letters to Congress and state and local elected officials urging them to designate the second Sunday in every August as a permanent National Day of Remembrance to honor their fathers and all those who made served in uniform or on the home front during “the costliest war ever fought by Americans on foreign soil.”

AWON is working with other Spirit of ’45 community partners to facilitate local proclamations and organize 65th anniversary commemorate events and August 14, including participating in Spirit of ’45 Open Houses in senior living communities in their local area.

AWON members Roger Connor and Sharon (Crowley) Connor of San Diego attended the January kick off event where Roger shared a moving tribute to his father. The Connors are now helping youth gather memories of August 14, 1945 from seniors in their community. On the evening of May 28, they will join the Pearl Harbor Survivors in front of the Midway with buglers who will play “Taps” as part of the cross country “Tribute to Gold Stars” that will begin at the National WWII Memorial and end in Honolulu, Hawaii, honoring the memory of all those who gave their lives in WWII.

We are proud to have AWON as a National Founding Member of the Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive! national initiative, and to have the active support of their membership to assure that the sacrifices of their fathers are never forgotten.


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