"Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive!" is becoming a regular feature of Veterans Day Parades throughout the country as more and more communities mobilize to honor the members of their 'greatest generation" by marching with their photos. (Above) Girl Scouts march up 5th Avenue in New York City's 2010 Veterans Day Parade.
"Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive!" will again be highly visible this Veterans Day as hundreds of youth and adult volunteers march with photos of World War II veterans in parades across the country to honor their legacy and revive their spirit of shared values, self sacrifice, and commitment to service to country and community.
More than 100 Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Air Force Jr. ROTC represented Spirit of ’45 in the 2010 “Nation’s Veterans Day Parade” in New York City wearing bright red scarves as they marched in America’s largest Veterans Day parade in front of a float carrying our National Spokesman Jerry Coleman and a 6 ft replica of the famous Times Square Kiss.
Air Force Jr. ROTC march with WWII veterans photos in Nation's Veterans Day Parade. (Center) Boy Scout wearing his grandfather's WWII service medals. (Left, New York Spirit Kids with National Youth Coordinator Robert Corpus and photo of Actress Rhonda Fleming's husband WWII Navy veteran Darol Carlson.
Jerry was invited to be the Grand Marshal in the 2010 New York's Veterans Day Parade in recognition of his 120 missions as a Marine fighter pilot during World War II and the Korean War, for which he received two Distinguished Flying Crosses. Jerry was the only major league baseball player to see combat in both wars, sacrificing 5 years of his career to serve his country, and received a warm welcome from New Yorkers who remember him as the MVP of the 1950 World Series Champion Yankees.
Jerry Coleman and WWII veterans on "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive!" float, presenting Spirit of '45 Day pin to NBC's Chuck Scarborough. (Right) rear view of float moving up 5th Avenue.
This year, approximately 20,000 people will march in the NYC Parade which attracts over 500,000 spectators who line the 30-block route up 5th Avenue, and was will be televised by Fox live in the New York Metro area.
The 2011 Spirit of ’45 entry in the NYC Parade included surviving members of the famous Navajo Code Talkers, the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, and other WWII heritage groups. Nell Calloway, grand daughter of Gen. Claire Chenault who led the Flying Tigers in the first response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, will lead the Spirit of ’45 group, accompanied by a 6 ft replica of Seward Johnson’s famous sculpture depicting the “kiss seen round the world.”
Nell Calloway, Robert Corpus and Kate Tafkovian with 6 ft version of the 25 ft Seward Johnson sculpture inspired by the "Times Square Kiss" of August 14, 1945 which is part of the "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive!" entry in the NYC Veterans Day Parade each year. (Middle) Valerie Pfundstein with Girl Scouts who lead the youth marchers, and National Supervisor Warren Hegg. American Legion Past National Commander Fang Wong and Members of Lt. B.R. Kimlau Post in New York City's Chinatown, pose with "Kiss" statue.
|Youth thank National Sponsoring Partner Vitas Innovative Hospice in San Diego Veterans Day Parade for its continuing support for "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive!"||Boy and Girl Scouts march in front of HP Pavilion during San Jose's Veterans Day Parade|
The idea of having youth carry poster size photos of WWII veterans from their local community in parades and patriotic events originated in Silicon Valley as part of the Stories of Service project. The Spirit of ’45 entry in Silicon Valley is organized each year by Debbie Porras who has been actively involved in Scouting for many years.
With the success of this year’ effort, we will be encouraging others to join us next year to help mobilize thousands of youth to march with images of their community’s WWII veterans in their local Veterans Day Parades next year as we set yet another new national tradition to honor service and keep the Spirit of ’45 alive throughout America!