Right to left: Girl Scouts interview WWII veteran during annual Spirit of '45 Day event in San Diego's Balboa Park. Hundreds of couples participated in Times Square Kiss In. An estimated 1,000 wreath laying ceremonies took place around the world Tribute to conclude the Spirit of '45 70th Anniversary Commemoration Weekend August 14 - 16, 2015.
Scroll down this page for summary descriptions of events and activities that took place in each state
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and perhaps the last opportunity for families and communities in every city and town in America to come together to say "Thank you!" to the men and women of our "greatest generation."
It's an opportunity to remember and reflect on the achievements and values of the WWII generation so that their example of courage, shared sacrifice, "can do" attitude, service to others, and national unity will continue to inspire future generations - especially the youth of our country.
WWII veteran Bob Cardenas talks with national events coordinator Linda Laurie at
Spirit of '45 70th Anniversary Commemoration Week kick off event in San Diego's Balboa Park on Sunday, August 9.
"Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive," the grassroots coalition that led the campaign that resulted in the U.S. Congress voting unanimously in 2010 for an annual national "Spirit of '45 Day," organized hundreds of 70th anniversary commemorative events and activities across America in August that were attended by thousands of people, young and old.
Summary of Events by State
More than 321,000 of Alabama's young men and women served in WWII, eight of whom received the Congressional Medal of Honor, and 4,500 of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
- In Birmingham, local residents told AL.com about the wild party that broke out downtown when the end of the war was announced. And a Kimberly woman is sharing her story of the large V-J Day celebration she witnessed in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. Mabel Myrick, who worked during the war as a secretary at the Pentagon in Washington, described her experiences that day in an interview and in a written account she supplied to AL.com. "There was a big celebration downtown," Myrick said, and she and her roommate – an 18-year-old girl from Pittsburgh, Pa. – hopped on a trolley so they could "go get in the middle of it," she said.
- Over 300 people gathered on a hill overlooking veterans grave sites at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, AL. The 4th Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive Ceremony honored all veterans and remembered the end of WWII on August 14, 1945. About 45 veterans from WWII were recognized at the event that featured a reenactment of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, patriotic music, a rifle salute and an impromptu reenactment of the kiss of nurse Edith Shain by a Navy sailor in Times Square on the day the war ended.
- More than 450 World War II veterans were honored during the standing room only festivities marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the war that was held at the massive Davidson Center at the Space & Rocket Center. in With veterans joined by family, friends and others wishing to pay tribute, the audience, in the words of Vice Adm. James Syring, Director of the Missile Defense Agency, "humbled to be in the presence of so many American heroes."
- This first ceremony was conducted at the Veterans and Pioneer Home in Palmer, Alaska. With the assistance of resident veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club conducted a presentation of the colors, pledge of allegiance led by a WWII veteran, wreath laying with WWII veterans, and a Fallen Warrior ceremony.
- The second event in Wasila included a reading of the Alaska State Proclamation and a wreath laying ceremony conducted by the American Legion Riders Riding Group.
- The third event was conducted by the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery. There was a presentation of the colors, pledge of allegiance, wreath laying, and Fallen Warrior Ceremony. Fort Richardson is the only national veterans cemetery to that has enemies of the United States interred in it. The 135 Japanese soldiers buried there were part of the enemy force that occupied the Aleutian Islands during WWII. They all committed seppuku when the invasion failed. Also buried at Fort Richardson is a school teacher who was the first American killed during the invasion of the Aleutian Islands. Soviet, Canadian, and British flight crews that crashed in Alaska during the war are also buried there.
"Thanks for all you do and the Alaska Vets MC and the Last Frontier Honor Flight are going to Keep the Spirit Alive in Alaska from now on!"
Joseph "Duke" Garner
Alaska Vets MC
Military Liaison / Secretary
Honor Flight Board Member
84,587 Arizonans served in World War II
- Peoria senior living community Montecito Senior Living hosted "The Spirit of '45" ceremony to commemorate the occasion (see video news report). The Montecito is home to several of the remaining veterans who served America so bravely in that war. Those veterans were honored at a ceremony, and we got to hear their thoughts about this time in history. More...
- A Spirit of '45 Ceremony was held on Saturday, August 15, at 9:00 am - 10:00 am at Prescott National Cemetery, Prescott, AZ. The National Cemetery Administration will conducted a WWII 70th Anniversary Commemorative Weekend, Spirit of '45 Ceremony. Keynote speaker was Darlene Packard, member of Yavapai Fire District Board, Prescott Valley Personnel Board and Prescott National Memorial Ladies.
Nearly 200,000 Arkansans served in World War II, including 7 who received the Congressional Medal of Honor and 3,519 of whom were killed in combat.
Elvin Bates (left) from Monticello, who served under Gen. George Patton and fought in the Battle of the Bulge and the invasion at Normandy beach, participates in a Spirit of '45 ceremony at the state Capitol. Richard McKinney (right) helps his father, Oscar McKinney, present a wreath commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, during a ceremony honoring "the Greatest Generation" at the U.S. National Cemetery in Fort Smith, AR. (Jamie Mitchell, Times Record)
"At the Fort Smith (AR) National Cemetery we had a great ceremony at 0900 Sunday morning, August 16, to beat the heat and allow those who chose to do so to attend church services afterward. We had a crowd of about 54 individuals with fifteen World War II veterans in attendance. I greated and shook hands with each WWII veteran and their spouse if they were present and thanked them for what they have done for our country. The Riverblenders Barbershop Chorus sang the National Anthem after which the Chaplein from American Legion Post 31 here in town gave the invocation.
"National Cemetery Director Adriene Benton gave a short address and I gave the keynote address. I had a WWII Army Air Corps veteran present our memorial wreath. Our local Marine Corps League Honor Guard did a 21 gun salute and David Rader of Bugles Across America played TAPS. At the end of the ceremony a WWII Army Veteran who was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, captured by the Germans and spent four months as a POW spoke some words to the gathering. We had both local TV and newspaper coverage for the event.
"Many of our veterans stayed around after completion of the ceremony and visited. It was a wonderful event and we only spent about 30 minutes for the formal ceremony. I had many in attendance come up to me afterward and tell me what a nice ceremony it was and thanked us for remembering the Greatest Generation on this auspicious occasion. We are glad we participated as a part of Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive."
Ed Nagy (MAJ, USA Ret)
Chairman, Avenue of Flags, Fort Smith (AR) National Ceetery
Adjutant MOPH 587
VFW Auxiliary member interviewing WWII veterans during Spirit of '45 ceremony at Fort Lyon National Cemetery on August 16, 2015
- The Spirit of '45 Celebration, honoring the men and women of World War II, took place for the first time at Fort Lyon National Cemetery on August 16, 2015, at 1 pm. In 2010, Congress passed a resolution to permanently and annually celebrate V-J Day on the second Sunday in August. Aug. 14, 1945, is known as the "Greatest Day" of the Greatest Generation. More...
- More than 150 WWII veterans attended the Spirit of '45 ceremony at the Arkansas Capitol Building, hosted by the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State Mark Martin and featured a military band which played several patriotic songs during the hour-long ceremony. Governor Asa Hutchinson spoke to the veterans and related that there are currently 8,000 WWII veterans in Arkansas. Gov. Hutchinson spoke of his own father who, at age 37, joined the war effort and was a Navy Seabee in the Aleutian Islands during WWII. Governor Hutchinson, and also gave credit to all those who were left behind who had to take care of things on the home front. More...
- The Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive celebration at the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center in San Diego's Balboa Park on Sunday, August 9, 2015, officially kicked off the Spirit of '45 70th Anniversary Commemoration Week. The event is an opportunity to thank World War II veterans for their sacrifice, and a chance to listen to and learn from their stories. “That’s what we’re here today to do,” said Bob Lawrence, who emceed the event. “To transfer the knowledge and values of our veterans to the next generation so they can carry on in that legacy.”
Special thanks to the USS Midway for its helping to sponsor the USA TODAY ad and hosting an hugely popular "Thanks for the Memories" event on August 15. Above, Midway president "Mac" McLaughlin with singers from the National WWII Museum who performed that evening.
USS Midway Museum celebrates anniversary of WWII's end
Photo gallery of Midway's Spirit of '45 70th Anniversary Weekend event
- A ceremony was conducted on August 14, at the statue of the Lone Sailor in Long Beach, CA by the Long Beach Council, which sponsored the wreath and event, and the Naval Operations Support Center Los Angeles/Coastal Riverine Squadron 11/Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach 2016 Chief Petty Officer selectees. The selectees laid the wreath in a somber and respectful ceremony in front of members of the public, according to a report from Council President Michael Merino.
- The Navy League's Tribute ceremony in San Francisco had to make accommodations for poor weather conditions and tourists at the Lone Sailor Memorial location at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. On what San Francisco Council President Angus Blackwood described as a “gray Navy Day,” strong winds threatened to play havoc with the wreath and its tripod platform, which led to some improvisation when the wreath was brought to the scene to ensure it did not blow away. The event also took place very early in the day, around sunrise, to avoid the crowds that gather at the scenic overlook offering views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Left, Song Pak places a flower in honor of all veterans, but specifically her husband, who served in multiple wars and who also attended the La Jolla ceremony. Right, Purple Heart recipient and keynote speaker Sergeant Major John Rougas said ‘Some people spend a lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. Veterans don’t have that problem.'
- San Diego Spirit of ’45 Day — a weekend of observances to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War — concluded in La Jolla Aug. 16 atop Mount Soledad with speakers, music and a wreath-laying ceremony. Similar ceremonies took place across the country that day, including one at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Ceremony. Retired Marine Jack Harkins, former chair of United Veterans Council, emceed the event. “San Diego continues to live up to its honored role as the birthplace of National Spirit of ‘45 Day and leads in the simultaneous national jubilations, much in the way that Americans celebrated on Aug. 14, 1945 at the end of World War II,” he said. The ceremony was organized by Elizabeth Hospice and the San Diego Veterans Hospice Partnership.
Queen Mary hosts Spirit of '45 Week of events
- The Spirit of ’45 was alive at the Atria Hacienda Senior Living facilities in Palm Desert on Friday. Located within a couple of miles of one another, the two independent/assisted living communities were abuzz with patriotism on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Atria Senior Living communities across the country are involved in this national grassroots effort to remind people of the courage, shared sacrifice and “can do” attitude of the men and women of the WWII generation. It was standing room only at the celebration hosted by the Atria located on Monterey Avenue. Dozens of residents, relatives and friends sat in a semi-circle around a small dance floor where they were entertained by the likes of Terri Olsen and the Persuasion Trio. Olsen, a Broadway performer, cast member of the former Fabulous Palm Springs Follies, was most recently the first runner-up in the Senior Star Search in Hollywood. “We are proud to call attention to our residents and to those in our community who contributed so much to our country during such an uncertain time,” said Mary Hilsabeck, Engage Life Director at Atria Hacienda. “These men and women have given so much and set an example for future generations. We are proud to support the Spirit of ’45 campaign, and we join them in honoring all members of the Greatest Generation.”
- Wreath laying ceremonies were held at Bakersfield National Cemetery, Arvin, CA (August 15 at 9:00 a.m.), Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA, (August 16 at 10:00 a.m.), Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, CA (August 16 at 2:00 p.m.), Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA (August 16 at 9:30 a.m.), Miramar National Cemetery , San Diego, CA 92122 (August 16 at 10:00 a.m.), Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, CA (August 14 at 3:00 p.m.), Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, Dixon, CA 95620 (August 15 at 10:00 a.m.), San Francisco National Cemetery, Presidio of San Francisco, CA (August 16 at 10:00 a.m.), and the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Santa Nella, CA (August 15 at 10:00 a.m.)
- As the church bells rang the hour 'Anchor's Away' filled the air. Followed by the Marine Corps and Navy Hymn, a small group gathered around the Lone Sailor Memorial in West Haven, CT. Western CT Council Board member Chief Mark Adams placed a Memorial wreath at the base while UT2 Barry Epstein played Taps. The ceremonial detail included 2 sailors and a Marine. A brief but moving ceremony in remembrance of those who served marking the 70th Anniversary of WWII.
District of Columbia
Paul Haley, Director of Development at the Navy Memorial, hosts the annual wreath laying in honor of the late Ernie Borgnine, who was one of the original national spokesmen for Spirit of '45 Day.
More than 250,000 Floridans volunteered or were drafted into service during World War II.
Thank you to everyone who came out for the Spirit of '45 Dinner on Saturday, August 15, 2015. We enjoyed hearing your stories, and once again, we'd like to thank you for your service! From the entire team, thank you!
- People gathered at the Bay Pines National Cemetery in St. Petersburg, FL on Sunday afternoon, August 16, 2015, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with a public‘Spirit of ’45’ event. National Spirit of ’45 Day observed on the second weekend in August, aligning with August 14, 1945 - the day when President Harry S. Truman announced that World War II was over and “America took on the responsibility for rebuilding the postwar world in an unprecedented effort to assure a better future for both its allies and former enemies alike,” according to the event organizers. Veterans and residents gathered at the cemetery Sunday to listen to the key note speaker Charles “Rudy” Arnold, the cemetery administrator. A wreath was laid to commemorate the Spirit of ’45.
A Tribute ceremony at the Lone Sailor Statue on the Riverwalk at Esplanade Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla, was organized and led by Navy League Fort Lauderdale Council member Kayelynne Northcutt together with Larry Ott from the Broward Council (pictured right). The ceremony, which included the wreath-laying and playing of “Taps,” was attended by veterans, members of Broward Council, Fort Lauderdale Council, Broward Navy Days, the NSCC’s Spruance Division, Dignity Memorial and Honor Flight organization.
- Wreath laying ceremonies were also held at the Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, FL (August 16 at 11:00 a.m.), Jacksonville National Cemetery, Jacksonville, FL (August 16 at 2:00 p.m.), South Florida National Cemetery, Lake Worth, FL (August 16 at 1:00 p.m.) and St. Augustine National Cemetery, St. Augustine, FL (August 16 at 9:00 a.m.)
- An estimated 3,500 people attended this Spirit of '45 70th Anniversary event commemorating the end of World War II, that was organized by the Air Force Armament Museum Foundation, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 811 and the Northwest Florida State College Student Nursing Program. Dozens of World War II veterans from Northwest Florida and a bus of veterans from Andalusia, Ala. were present. Click here for photos of this hugely successful event.
- "On Sunday, August 16, 2015, the SGT Timothy Padgett Chapter 811, MilitaryOrder of the Purple Heart (MOPH) participated in the Global Tribute (Wreat Laying) Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the End of WWII at Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, Florida. The Bugles Across America, American Monuments Commission, VA National Cemetery Administration, National Park Service, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart joined together and invited the Public for this Wreath Laying Tribute to honor the End of WWII by placing wreaths on this date at memorials, cemeteries, and otherlocations around the world". Submitted by Sam Houston, Chapter 811 Commander, MOPH
L to R: Bill Patterson, Adjutant, Chapter 811, Meredith McQuagge, Sr. Vice
Cmdr. 811, Glenda Penton, Gold Star Mother/Associate Member 811, and Sam
Houston Chapter Cmdr. 811. Ms. Glenda Penton is the Mother of SGT Timothy
Padgett 7th Special Forces Group (A), who Chapter 811 is named in honor of.
A girl presents a white chrysanthemum flower during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII that was held in Pearl Harbor, HI on Friday, August 14, 2015. Mayors and city council members from Honolulu and Nagaoka, Japan, joined the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander to lay wreaths and unveil a new plaque. (photo courtesy of Johans Chavvaro/U.S. Navy via Associated Press).
"We had an awesome event honoring our WWII veterans and America's greatest generation. I have attached three links of media coverage.
I'm looking forward to next year's ceremony!"
The Lake County, Ill Navy League Council members conducted a wreathlaying at the Lone Sailor Statue at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. Council Treasurer Roycealee Wood, a Navy League national director, and retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Theodore F. Rock, Lake County Council president (pictured below) were joined by RDML Stephen C. Evans, commander, Naval Service Training Command, and others at the ceremony. The Lake County Council presents its Sailor of the Quarter/Year honorees with a miniature copy of the Lone Sailor Statue.
- Wreath laying Tributes were also held at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, IL (August 16 at 1:00 p.m.), Alton National Cemetery, Alton, IL (August 16 at 3:00 p.m.), Danville National Cemetery, Danville, IL (August 16 at 1:00 p.m.), Mound City National Cemetery, Mound City, IL (August 16 at 1:00 p.m.), and the Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, IL (August 16 at 11:00 a.m.).
More than 276,000 Iowans served in World War II and 5,624 died in battle.
Aged veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces staged a reenactment Sunday afternoon of the raising of the U.S. Flag on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima at the Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive event at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter.
- A Spirit of ’45 memorial ceremony drew a crowd of about 300 to the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter to honor U.S. veterans of World War II and commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. The laying of a wreath and playing of Taps formed the stark center of the event, but honor was shown to all of Iowa’s surviving veterans of World War II as the event’s most worthy guests. The invocation was delivered by Harlan Lekowsky, 90, a 1943 graduate of North High School in Des Moines who served in the Pacific Theater as a chaplain with the 27th Army Combat Engineers. More...
Iowa State Cemetery Event Description
- The American Legion Post #371 of Lake Park Iowa held a Spirit of ’45 event on August 16th, 2015 at the
Lake Park Community Center at 2:00 PM. The purpose was to keep the Spirit of ’45 alive in honoring the
legacy of the Greatest Generation on the 70th Anniversary of the conclusion of WWII. We are located in Dickinson County, northwest Iowa. Of the World War II veterans we located 38
Veterans; fourteen (14) men and one (1) women accepted our invitation to be present to be honored
and thanked for their service to our countries flag. Our program consisted of the following: saluted the United States flag, invocation, reciting of the Pledge
of Allegiance by all, singing of the National of Anthem acappella, what a beautiful sound as
everyone sounded off. Excerpts of select articles were read, two WWII Veterans spoke of time in service
and thanked the people for being on the home front for their when they came home. Representatives
of the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf War era thanked those WWII veterans for their service
preserving the freedoms we have enabling us Veterans to serve in uniform to continue today. Reading
of local proclamation by local Mayor acknowledgement to spouses and families message of
congratulations and thanks for their service of their country to receive the honor and legacy to be called
the greatest generation, presentation of certificates of appreciation for their service along with a small
United States flag, tribute to the fallen, presentation of wreath with WWII grave marker in middle of
wreath closing benediction firing of a 21 gun salute, taps and 30 seconds of silence.
Post #371 Commander
9th District Chaplain
TFA 9th District Coordinator
The Navy League Council of Cedar Rapids sponsored a wreath-laying at the statue of the Lone Sailor in Waterloo, Iowa, in memory of all who served in World War II. Kelly Sullivan (in photo) laid the wreath. Sullivan is the granddaughter of George Sullivan — one of the five Sullivan brothers who were killed together while serving aboard USS Juneau in the Pacific during the war. The statue is in front of the Five Sullivan Brothers Center in Waterloo. The ceremony included the playing of Taps, a moment of silence and short comments by participants. Although the event itself was short, it was a reminder of the many Iowans who died or were wounded in the Pacific War, especially for the city of Waterloo that was shocked at the sudden loss of five brothers devastating the Sullivan family and leaving one surviving child of the five boys. The Grout Museum’s Christopher Shackelford
directed the arrangements for the occasion with
assistance of the Navy League Cedar Rapids Council.
- Wreath laying Tribute ceremonies were held at Camp Nelson Natinal Cemetery, Nicholasville, KY (August 15 at 11:00 a.m.), Cave Hill National Cemetery), Louisville, KY (August 16 at 10:00 a.m.), Danville National Cemetery, Danville, KY (August 14 at 5:00 PM), Lebanon National Cemetery, Lebanon, KY, (August 14 at 4:30 p.m.), Lexington National Cemetery, Lexington, KY (August 14 at 10:00 a.m.), Mill Springs National Cemetery, Nancy, KY (August 14 at 11:00 AM), and Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, KY (August 16 at 3:00 p.m.)
USS Kidd Spirit of '45 event announcement. Nell Calloway, Executive Director of the Chennault Air & Space Museum, looks on as Louisiana U.S. Senator David Vitter speaks at event held at Northeast Louisiana War Veterans Home.
- The Chennault Air & Space Museum hosted a "Spirit of '45" celebration at the Northeast Louisiana War Veterans Home to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. U.S. Senator David Vitter spoke at the event, which featured entertainment by Baylee Regan (photos by Margaret Croft/The News Star)
Baton Rouge In Baton Rouge, La., Council President James Window was joined by World War II veteran Franck Manzanc and USS Kidd Veterans Museum Executive Director Alejandra “Alex” Juan for a wreath-laying on August 14 at the Lone Sailor Memorial statue that stands at the entrance to the museum.
- Wreath laying Tributes were held at the Alexandria National Cemetery, Baton Rouge National Cemetery, Baton Rouge, LA, (August 14 at 10:00 a.m.), Louisiana National Cemetery, Zachary, LA (August 14 at 10:00 a.m.), and the Port Hudson National Cemetery, Zachary, LA (August 14 at 10:00 a.m.).
- Stella Maris, in Timonium, MD honored residents from its long term care facility, its retirement community (St. Elizabeth’s Hall) and senior day center that served in WWII and helped them create memory boards and displays of letters and memorabilia from their service years. Click here for Stella Maris Spirit of '45 program.
- Military Order of the Purple Heart organized a special ceremony on the USS Cassin Young Boston Historical National Park in Charlestown, MA on Sunday, August 16 that honored 25 WWII veterans from the Bedford VA.
"Congratulations to Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive! On Tuesday, August 11th, the Curator of the Museum at Battleship Cove in Fall River held a Salute to Women Day. She invited some Rosies and myself to attend and judge a "Look-Like-Rosie" contest for adults and another for children. It was a wonderful day. Even the rain storm didn't keep them away!
"On Sunday, August 16th, a group of people gathered at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Dorchester. They were joining in a Global Tribute with a wreath laying ceremony to honor the WWII generation of America and her Allies. A ceremony that was being held all around the world. All on the same week end! After Bertha J. Glavin, President of the Mass. Bay Chapter Quincy, of the American Rosie the Riveter Association welcomed the guests and the Director of the Library, Tom Putnam and Steven Bois, Director of Marketing and Sales for allowing us to hold the ceremony there, the program began with the Salute to the Flag followed by Jacqueline Kempe singing "God Bless America".
Ms.Glavin told them of the announcement on August 14th, 1945 of the victory was greeted by the Americans with joyous celebration, humility, and prayerful reflection. Our hard-earned victory required a massive national effort--especially the personal sacrifices of the brave men and women in uniform who fought the good fight across two oceans. On the home front, workers such as the Red Cross personnel, the wardens patrolling the streets at night, and defense plant and shipyard workers exemplified by Rosie the Riveter did their part to support the war effort. Incidentally, Mary Kennedy, her sister, worked as a welder during WWII in the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy ans she was very proud of her. United in purpose, America and her Allues defeated the forces of aggression, brought freedom to subjugated nations, and ended the horrors of the Holocaust.
This Greatest Generation epitomizes the Spirit of America with their courage, unity, dedication, self-sacrifice, and compassion that inspires us still. We are thankful that a new generation of men and women has heeded the call to serve in our military and protect our nation today. God Bless the All!
Bomber Pilot Russell Erikson told the audience of his many bombing ventures especially when he returned to his base in Sheffield, England. His plane had 200 bullet holes in itand landing with the wheels still up he brought the plane safely in landing on a grassy mound. Army Soldier Bob Noble told of his many different arms he handled during the fighting in Europe.
We will never forget the many Americans that never returned home, and we shall forever be grateful for their supreme sacrifice. To honor these true heroes, Mrs. Glavin read a short ode of remembrance, from the poem "For the Fallen" by Lawrence Bibyon, followed by a moment of silence:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning.
We will remember them.
Our distinguished veterans to place the wreath alongside the memorial stone. We then were lead in the Star Spangled Banner by Jacqueline Kempe and Julia Lyons. The program concluded with a thankyou to all who joined in our commemoration of the historic day in america, and may God continue always to Bless America."
Submitted by Bertha Glavin, a "Rosie the Riveter"
"We had a great event on August 16. This link includes speeches, historical background and a TV special of the event."
Russell Levine, Vice President, Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial
- A wreath laying Tribute ceremony was held at the World War II Memorial in Minneapolis, MN on August 16 at 11:00 AM.
August 14, 1945 in North Platte, NE - home to the "Prairie Canteen"
(Archival footage/ silent film)
Fort Bayard National Cemetery
200 Camino De Paz
Fort Bayard, NM 88036
For information please contact: Fort Bliss National Cemetery (915) 564-0201
Ceremony: August 16 at 2:00 p.m.
Santa Fe National Cemetery
501 North Guadalupe Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Ceremony: August 16 at 2:00 p.m.
- Wreath laying Tribute ceremonies were also held at Bath National Cemetery, VA Medical Center, Bath, NY (August 15 at 10:00 a.m.), Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, NY (August 14 at 9:00 a.m.), Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY (August 15 at 11:00 a.m.) Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, Schuylerville, NY (August 16 at 11:00 a.m.), Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY (August 15 at 10:00 a.m.), and Woodlawn National Cemetery, Elmira, NY (August 16 at 10:00 a.m.)
- Wreath laying Tributes were held in New Bern National Cemetery, New Bern, NC (August 14 at 11:00 a.m), Raleigh National Cemetery, Raleigh, NC (August 15 at 11:00 a.m), Salisbury National Cemetery, Salisbury, NC (August 14 at 9:00 a.m.), and Wilmington National Cemetery, Wilmington, NC (August 15 at 11:00 a.m).
- On August 16, 2015, the Blanchard Valley Chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge held a wreath laying ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two. The service was held at 1:00 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Chapel in Fostoria's (Ohio) Fountain Cemetery. There were approximately 60-70 persons in attendance. The service lasted 30 minutes. The featured speaker was Gen. Mark Scheid (Ret.) Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler read a Proclamation. A firing squad salute was performed by the Fostoria United Veterans Firing Squad and Color Guard. A half dozen World War Two veterans were in attendance. Taps was performed by Paul Heiser, a World War Two veteran and a member of the VBOB. The wreath was placed by Bill Kirian, also a World War Two vet and a member of the Blanchard Valley VBOB.
Submitted by Leonard Skonecki
- Tribute wreath laying ceremonies were held at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville, PA (August 16 at 12:00 p.m.), National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, Bridgeville, PA (August 16 at 10:00 a.m.),Philadelphia National Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA (August 14 at 3:00 p.m.), and Washington Crossing National Cemetery,Newtown, PA (August 14 at 12:00 p.m.)
Approximately 184,000 South Carolinans served in World War II.
A Tribute was organized by the Navy League of Charleston at the Lone Sailor statue at the City of North Charleston’s Riverfront Park on Sunday, 16 August 2015. The event began precisely at 2:00 p.m. to coincide with the setting of the sun over the Western European countryside and coastline in honor of the cessation of hostilities in 1945 which were simultaneously being held nationwide as part of the Spirit of ’45 initiative. The Bugler and Escort are airmen provided by Joint Base Charleston’s Honor Guard.
- Pine Ridge Tribal Cemetery "Here are some pictures of the Honoring on Sunday. One of our speakers represented the National Cemetery. It was a beautiful day, a bit breezy but not too hot or cold. There were two WW II Veterans that were able to attend; Art Lafferty an Navy Veteran who is 90 years old and Lilly Mae Red Eagle an Army Veteran who is 94 years old. I really wanted my Mother to attend but the doctor advised she shouldn't be checked out as it might endanger her health. But it was a very memorable day altogether." Corrine Zephier, Lakota Freedom Veterans Cemetery Representative
Ceremonies were held at Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, SD (August 16 at 10:00 a.m.) consisting of wreath laying and playing of Taps Hot Springs National Cemetery, VA Medical Center, Hot Springs, SD (August 16 at 10:00 a.m.) guest speaker, wreath laying, 21 gun salutes, Taps, and several WWII Veterans in attendance from the local Veterans Home
- The Spirit of’45 celebration was held at the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial in downtown Knoxville. The afternoon started with swing dance demonstrations, 1940’s music, a remembrance table with August 14-15, 1945 radio broadcasts and a 1943 military jeep with period reenactors. The formal program included presentation of the colors and pledge of allegiance by high school Jr ROTC programs, National Anthem by Bugles Across America, opening comments by Knoxville Mayor Tim Burchett, reading the Spirit of ’45 proclamation by Governor Haslam by Tennessee State Representative Eddie Smith, guest speaker Lt. Col Charlie Brakebill, USAF, Ret.; who was in Washington DC the day the announcement was made, tribute to our World War II veterans and presentation with challenge coins, tribute to fallen and participation in global wreath laying by Volunteer Chapter Gold Star Mothers, flyover of a P47 Thunderbolt by Warbirds Museum in Sevierville and Taps. - Barry Funeral Home/Highland South Funeral Home and Memorial/Weaver Funeral Home
- Tribute wreath laying ceremonies were held at Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, TN (August 14 at 11:00 a.m.), Knoxville National Cemetery, Knoxville, TN (August 14 at 11:00 a.m.), Memphis National Cemetery, Memphis, TN (August 15 at 10:00 a.m.).Mountain Home National Cemetery, Mountain Home, TN (August 14 at 10:00 a.m.), and Nashville National Cemetery, Madison, TN (August 14 at 11:00 a.m.)
- Frontiers of Flight Museum organized an exciting 2-day Spirit of '45 70th Anniversary event at Love Field, Dallas, TX, featuring a Rosie the Riveter Rally and several special guests, including WWII Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Herschel "Woody Williams who laid a wreath on Sunday, August 16 as part of the around the world Tribute that began earlier that day at the American Cemetery in the Philippines. Click here to see photos.
- The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Central Texas Wing, Area Chambers of Commerce and local businesses sponsored a Spirit of 45 70th Anniversary Commemoration event at the CAF Hangar located at the San Marcos Airport. There was a fly-in of vintage war planes that are housed at the CAF hangar, along with a car show, rides and exhibits for the kids, and a special ceremony honoring 20 World War II veterans in attendance, including two women who worked as riveters. Approximately a thousand people attended the event, including twenty World War II veterans, name of whom posed for the above photo. Members of the Greatest Generation who attending included Bill Soyars, Ken Towery (POW), Chester Mowdrell, George Collie, Edwin Dyer, Al Kosko (Army Air Corps), John Brandt (U.S. Marines), Jim Whitley (Army Air Corps), Bill Behr (U.S. Navy), Grover Cunningham, Leo Slief, Everett Delash, Gerald Auerbach, and Gerald Lutz. Rosie the Riveters include Deedie Favro and Pat Golson. See more photos here.
12th Armored Division Museum hosts 70th Anniversary event featuring Rosie's
- Tribute wreath laying ceremonies were held at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, Dallas, TX Fort Bliss National Cemetery, El Paso, TX (August 16 at 11:00 a.m.), Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, TX (August 14 at 8:30 a.m.), Houston National Cemetery, Houston, TX (August 14 at 8:00 a.m.), Kerrville National Cemetery, VA Medical Center, Kerrville, TX (August 14 at 10:30 a.m.), and San Antonio National Cemetery, San Antonio, TX (August 14 at 8:30 a.m.)
- The Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge supported the Spirit of 45 event during a great ceremony in Fort Lee and in Williamsburg, VA.
- In Norfolk, Va., cadets from the Naval Sea Cadet Corps’ Top Hatters Squadron, sponsored by the Navy League’s Hampton Roads Council, laid the wreath at the Lone Sailor Memorial in Wisconsin Square. They were joined by Navy bugler Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Eddy Loaiza.
- The Air Force Association helped kick off the 70th Anniversary Commemoration Weekend with a public concert held at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, VA, which featured a musical performance by the United States Air Force Band, a wreath laying ceremony and comments by Spirit of '45 national spokesman, Jerry Yellin (pictured above) who flew the final combat mission of WWII on August 14, 1945. Greatest generation honored during wreath laying, Air Force Band concert
- Wreath laying Tribute ceremonies were also held at Alexandria National Cemetery, Alexandria, VA (August 13 at 12:00 p.m.), City Point National Cemetery, Hopewell, VA (August 12 at 10:00 a.m.), Cold Harbor National Cemetery, Mechanicsville, VA (August 12 at 12:00 p.m.), Culpeper National Cemeter, Culpeper, VA (August 16 at 12:00 p.m.), Danville National Cemetery, Danville, VA (August 14 at 10:00 a.m.), Fort Harrison National Cemetery, Richmond, VA (August 12 at 10:00 a.m.), Glendale National Cemetery, Richmond, VA (August 12 at 10:00 a.m.), Quantico National Cemetery, Triangle, VA (August 16 at 11:00 a.m.), Richmond National Cemetery, Richmond, VA (August 12 at 10:00 a.m.), Seven Pines National Cemetery, Sandston, ( August 12 at 10:00 a.m.), Staunton National Cemetery, Staunton, VA, Winchester National Cemetery, Winchester, VA (August 16 at 11:00 a.m.)
- Michael Wilson, West Virginia State Bugles Across America, sounded Taps during the Spirit of 45 commemoration events held at the national cemeteries in Granton and near Pruntytown, WV on Sunday, August 16. Two WWII veterans - one of whom spent time as a POW, laid a wreath in memory of the vets buried in the two cemeteries. The ceremony at the West Virginia National Cemetery near Pruntytown was organized by the Taylor County/Grafton post of the VFW. Several members of the Patriot Guard attended both services.
In November, youth groups will honor WWII veterans in their families and communities by marching with their photos in march in Veterans Day parades in New York, San Diego, San Jose and other cities across the America to signal the "passing of the torch" to a new generation of leaders who will carry on the legacy of our Greatest Generation.
Here are some of the organizations that are helping to keep the Spirit of '45 alive in America: