Welcome to the Sofia Hotel!
More about the 2013 Conference
We are pleased that the Sofia Hotel will again be our official “base camp” for the 2013 Spirit of ’45 Day National Leaders Conference.
One of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America, the former Pickwick Hotel opened in 1927, and was at the center of the jubilant celebrations that took place at Horton Plaza in San Diego on August 14, 1945.
This luxury boutique hotel has all the most modern amenities and is only a few minutes from San Diego’s famous Gaslamp Quarter, the center of night life in “America’s finest city.”
We’re setting up a welcome table in the lobby where you can sign in and receive your Conference materials on your arrival at the hotel.
You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the lifelike Seward Johnson sculpture at the Hotel entrance!
Thursday night Valentines Day “Meet and Greet” under the stars!
To kick things off, we’ll be having a mixer from 5 PM to 7 PM on Thursday, August 14, so attendees can meet old friends and make new ones before we begin our working sessions on Friday morning.
Join us for light refreshments and a no host bar in the spectacular Starlight Room atop the Bristol Hotel, located a short one-block walk from the Sofia. The ceiling of the Starlight Room literally opens up to a panoramic view of the starlit heavens making it the perfect venue for a Valentine’s Day gathering!
The theme for the evening will be “Honoring the Couples of WWII” – the men and women who came together during or immediately following the war to form the families and build the communities that sustain America today.
We’ve invited some WWII Couples from San Diego to be with us for the evening who contributed their photos to the “Kiss” mosaic that was created by Ancestry.com/Fold3.com and HP. Walgreens transformed the mosaic into a video animation that played on their 100 ft. jumbo screen in Times Square on the anniversary of the “kiss seen ‘round the world” on August 14th.
The project will continue so that every family with a “Couples” photo can be part of this annual celebratory moment.
We’ll be taking this opportunity to thank Atria Senior Living for hosting the 2012 Spirit of ’45 Express that visited more than 100 communities during its 10,000 mile tour through 35 states across America last spring. All 124 of Atria’s communities celebrated Spirit of ’45 Day with their residents this year and are planning to do the same in 2013.
Friday Working Sessions at the San Diego Hall of Champions
The delightful and informative drivers of the Old Town Trolley Company will be waiting at the front door of the Sofia to transport you up to scenic Balboa Park where we will have a full day of highly interactive discussions at the San Diego Hall of Champions, reviewing goals for Spirit of ’45 Day and developing strategies for the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in August 2015.
Following welcome remarks from San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, National Spokesman Jerry Coleman and Admiral Mac McLaughlin, president of the Midway Museum, we will review the highlights of the Spirit of ’45 Day campaign since we began in 2010. We’ll share our best ideas and events of the past year, develop strategic goals for 2015, and identify the tools and techniques necessary to accomplish them.
The San Diego Hall of Champions is a perfect venue for officially thanking all the Major League Baseball teams that have been supporting the observance of Spirit of ’45 Day, and to honor Jerry Coleman on his 70-year career in professional baseball and all that he has done to help keep the Spirit of ’45 alive in America.
Bring your best ideas to share and any questions you may have for building on the our successes of the past three years as we lay the foundations for an historic 2015 celebration.
Honoring the Unsung Heroes of Honor Flight!
On Friday evening, we will pay tribute to the community leaders of the 118 Honor Flight Regional Hubs during a special San Diego premiere screening of “Honor Flight – The Movie” which will be attended by hundreds of youth and veterans of all eras, including many heroes of WWII from the San Diego area.
The Honor Flight movie was announced at the 2012 Conference and had its world premiere on Spirit of ’45 Day eve at the Salute to the Greatest Generation event hosted by Stars and Stripes Honor Flight in Milwaukee that was attended by more than 28,000 people (setting a new Guinness World Record for a movie premiere).
We’ll be taking this opportunity to thank HP for producing the 120 ft “Wall of Honor” that was displayed in front of the National WWII Memorial on Spirit of ’45 Day weekend by Alamo Honor Flight of San Antonio, and Fold3.com for creating the virtual version of the “Wall” that appears on its web site so that veterans and their families can see their photos whenever they wish.
Times Square Kiss dedication ceremony in front of the Midway!
On Saturday morning, we will travel by trolley the 4 blocks down to the waterfront to participate in the dedication of the newly installed 25 ft painted bronze “statue” depicting the “Times Square Kiss,” which will be a permanent symbol of Spirit of ’45 Day.
We will be joined by hundreds of WWII veterans and their families as the Midway Museum officially presents the Port Authority of San Diego with the “Kiss” which will stand at the center of San Diego’s “Greatest Generation Walk”
We will take this opportunity to thank the Midway for its leadership in raising the approximately $1 million needed to pay for the new sculpture and surrounding plaza that will stand as an enduring reminder of the spirit of the “ordinary heroes” who endured the difficult times of the Great Depression, preserved freedom and democracy by winning WWII, and then went on to build a better future for their children and their children’s children.
The dedication ceremony will conclude with an announcement that the countdown to the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII – and the Kiss!– is officially underway,
You won’t want to miss this chance of a lifetime to be part of history!
Working sessions continue at the Veterans Museum & Memorial
Following the dedication ceremony, we will return by Trolley to Balboa Park for wrap up discussions during which we will review and confirm the 2013 calendar of events. We’ll explore ways to mobilize youth leadership groups like the Boy and Girl Scouts on Memorial Day and Veterans Day to build greater public awareness and participation in Spirit of ’45 Day.
Spiritfest! Dinner & Dance aboard the Berkeley Ferry Maritime Museum
After more than two full days and nights of exciting and productive activities, we’ll all be ready for an evening of great food and 1940’s musical entertainment while enjoying the breathtaking views of San Diego’s magnificent harbor while roaming the decks of the Berkeley Ferry Maritime Museum.
Built in the 1890’s, this vintage vessel has more than a century of history (including its own ghosts!) and is the ideal venue for a Spiritfest that you’ll never forget!
Swing dancing lessons provided! WWII era attire encouraged!
Sunday brunch wreath laying ceremony with Pearl Harbor Survivors
On Sunday morning, we will meet for brunch with members of San Diego’s Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, to say our goodbyes, before closing the Conference with our traditional wreath laying ceremony to honor those who gave their all during WWII, and the millions who have passed on since the end of the war.
The Conference will officially ends at noon, but we hope that some of you will take advantage of the fact that Monday is President's Day by spending some more time enjoying San Diego!