National Spirit of ’45 Day observed in hundreds of communities across the country this year! Share your stories! August 18, 2011

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

August 18, 2011 

Hundreds of communities held Spirit of ’45 Day events and activities in every state inAmerica this year, starting with the big band concert at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, Hawaii, organized by Vanita Rae Smith, and two 2-day events that were hosted by the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, NJ and at the History Park in San Jose, CA.

A former WAVE in Florida enjoys her Day

We are posting photos and brief descriptions that are being sent in from people who organized Spirit of ’45 events this year so they can be shared on  here and on the Spirit of ’45 Facebook pages with links to their web sites.

Submissions should be sent to Laura Jimenez at  Be sure to include links to any media coverage that describes your event or activity.

We’ll be producing a final wrap-up report on the highlights of this year’s observance, with some news about what’s planned for the next 12 month national campaign, including the weeks leading up to Veterans Day on November 11.

Three lovely WAVES (l to r) Elizabeth Robinson, Gladys Felice, and Gladys Martin brought their Spirit Smiles to the two-day event hosted on the USS Battleship New Jersey, which featured reflections by Ed Buchman who served as a Gunner's Mate Third Class on the USS Missouri where the Japanese surrender took place on September 2, 1945 which was re-enacted during the event.

To see the re-enactment visit

Spirit of '45 National Advisory Council Members receive standing ovation from 3000 attendees of the American Society on Aging conference in San Francisco. (Left to right) Dr. Francis Carter, president and founder of the Association of Rosie the Riveters, WWII veteran John Carter, Harold "Skip" Adams (USMC ret.), and Joe Gonzales, Army veteran.

This year’s campaign benefitted from the support of the American Association for State and Local History ( which resulted in dozens of its members holding observances.   We were also helped by articles in the press like one that appeared in the AARP‘s online magazine. Spirit of `45 – Greatest Generation « AARP

The Weider History Group supported this year’s Spirit of ’45 campaign by running a complimentary ad in the July issue of “Armchair Magazine” and posting an online article on ‘Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive!’ which complemented the radio interview by Jim Bohannan which aired on 500 station on Memorial Day. Jim Bohannon Audio Highlights

Vitas Innovative Hospice did a great job promoting awareness about Spirit of ’45 Day with media releases and organizing more than 100 separate events in the 16 states where it provides its service  VITAS Innovative Hospice Care® Programs ‘Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive’ in August – DailyFinance

Whitehall Boca Celebrates the Spirit of ’45 – YouTube

National Events Coordinator Linda Laurie’s 2010 radio interview  spirit0f45

Here are some of the highlights of this year’s Spirit of ’45 observances:

Battleship USS New Jersey, Camden, NJ

To help get things rolling this year, our National Partner U-Haul donated the use of one of their trucks to carry three 6 ft versions of the famed artist Seward Johnson's 25 ft sculpture depicting the "Times Square Kiss" across the country to raise public awareness about National Spirit of '45 Day. "The Spirit Truck" traveled more than 3000 miles in less than 4 days so that one of the sculptures could be put aboard a ship in time to appear at the Spirit of '45 Night event in Hawaii's Waikiki Shell on Saturday, August 13 (see below). Another of the sculptures was dropped off in Kansas City, MO to be picked up by the Veterans Task Force of Branson, MO for its 2-day event. The third sculpture was left with the organizers of Spirit of '45 Day events that took place in the San Francisco Bay area. (Above) Spirit of '45 at the Battleship News Jersey in Camden, NJ.

Branson, MO

Here’s the link to the coverage of the arrival of “The Kiss” in Branson, MO

Honolulu, HI

The Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive big band concert at the Waikiki Shell on Saturday night, August 13 that was organized by AWON member Vanita Rae Smith to honor the Japanese America veterans of WWII. Vanita and her partners are already planning next year's event! Photo by Allison Vaughan, special to the Star Bulletin.

Major League Baseball teams continued their winning streak by observing Spirit of ’45 Day during their August games.

Detroit, MI

The Detroit Tigers observe Spirit of '45 Day during their home game played on August 14. The Tigers' famous power hitter Hank Greenberg was the first American League ball player to be inducted into the armed service in WWII, saying "My country comes first!" Seventeen other Major League Baseball teams had observances this year, many repeats from 2010 when all 15 teams that played games on August 14 observed National Spirit of '45 Day.

Sample rack card that was distributed by some of the participating MLB clubs.

Several MLB clubs distributed Spirit of '45 rack cards that helped remind their fans of the important role that professional baseball played during WWII and how thousands of players served their country.

We were especially pleased to have the support of the All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League Association, who promoted public awareness about Spirit of ’45 on their web site.  AAGPBL, Spirit of ’45, Doyle, Jochum, Kurys

Minneapolis Twins Game, August 10 /St. Paul, MN

The Minnesota Twins received a Spirit of '45 National Leaders Medal in recognition of their efforts to promote public awareness about National Spirit of '45 Day during the past two years. The Medal was presented to Twins General Manager Ron Gardenhire (left), by Tim Hoogland of the Minnesota Historical Society and members of the family of Tuskegee Airman Stan Harris and his wife Juanita, who grew up in St. Paul. Juanita passed away on August 24.

There are 116 WWII veterans at the Minenesota Veterans Home, many of whom are Twins fans who enjoyed a "shout out" from the Twins on their special Day.

San Diego Padres “Spirit of ’45 Night” August 15, San Diego, CA

Spirit of '45 National Spokesman Jerry Coleman is honored by the Navy Memorial during San Diego Padres' Spirit of '45 Night. The Padres produced the Spirit of '45 Day video that was distributed to all the Major League Baseball teams who participated in the campaign this year.

Mac McLaughlin, president of the Historical Navy Ships Association and the USS MIdway is joined by National History Day representatives Cheryle Redlings and Carson Scott to present the Spirit of '45 National Leaders Medal to Tom Garfinkel, president and CEO of the Padres and Jerry Coleman. The Padres invited 200 WWII veterans and their family members to attend the game as their guests so they could be honored with a standing ovation from the crowd.

Los Angeles Dodgers Game, August 3

Pearl Harbor Survivor "Lucky" Brugnola greeted by Tommy Lasorda of the Los Angeles Dodgers during their Spirit of '45 Day. Lucky was interviewed on field during the Dodgers game and sat in the players dugout. He lost 25 of his fellow sailors when his ship, the USS Shaw was hit by Japanese bombs during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Florida Marlines Game, August 14, Miami, FL

The Florida Marlins teamed up with national sponsor Vitas Innovative Hospice by providing 500 tickets for WWII veterans to attend their August 14 game during which a state proclamation supporting Spirit of '45 Day was presented to the team.WW II Vets in the box seats during the game with Candace Natale, Vitas Rep from Broward. Her dad is the first Vet on the left. The veteran seated next to him also played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and had dinner with Willie Mays the night before!

Florida VA Outpatient Clinic Nurse Vallerie Mazon (right) drove 200 miles to pick up WWII veterans and take them to the Spirit of '45 Day with Marlins at Sunlife Stadium. It's people like Valerie who are keeping the Spirit of '45 alive in America!

Cincinnati Reds Game, August 14, Cincinnati, OH

Vitas Veterans Liaison Carole Quakenbush with Tuskegee Airman Leslie Edwards at Cincinnati Reds game on August 14. The Reds gave tickets to 50 WWII veterans to attend the game. Vitas is a national sponsor of the Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive initiative, and has supported more than 100 community events in the 20 states where it provides end of life services. The Tuskegee Airmen are among the most active WWII heritage groups that are supporting Spirit of '45 throughout the country.

Vitas Veterans Liaisons organized hundreds of Spirit of ’45 events before, during and after August 14 in senior and assisted living communities in more than a dozen states this year.

VITAS Innovative Hospice Care® Programs ‘Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive’ in August – DailyFinance

Veterans Museum & Memorial, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

Family with Pearl Harbor Survivors at Spirit of '45 Day event held at the Veterans Museum and Memorial in San Diego's Balboa Park. The Museum will be co-hosting the 2nd annual Spirit of '45 National Leaders Conference that will be held on February 24-26 next year.

30th Street Station, Philadelphia, PA

A color guard from McGuire AFB at Spirit of '45 Day opening ceremony held at the WWII memorial in Amtrak's historic 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, PA. at 10 AM on Sunday morning, August 14. Amtrak hosted the event, complete with an official Spirit of '45 cake which was shared by the participants at the end of the ceremony.

Read the Philadelphia Inquirer article

Philadelphia's "Favorite Son" Timmy Kelly sang the National Anthem and a heartrending rendition of "I'll Be Seeing You" during the National Spirit of '45 Day opening ceremony hosted by Amtrak at its 30th Street Station. Blind from birth, Timmy has become well known throughout the Philadelphia community not only for his great singing voice (he has performed several times at Eagles games and other venues), but for his spirit of courage, perseverance, can do attitude and good humor -- personifying some of the best qualities of the Greatest Generation. We are proud that Timmy has agreed to be a national youth spokesman for the Spirit of '45 campaign, and will be joining us in Washington for Memorial Day and National Spirit of '45 Day next year to help inspire America to come together in unity to face the many historic challenges that face our country.

The ceremony featured presentations by Carson Rolleri and Sam Spare who have been part of a National History Day program that is documenting the lives of soldiers who fell at Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy. Carson and Sam are two of 15 students who were the first to participate in Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom, and will be part of the team that will be helping to mobilize youth to take part in the Spirit of '45 effort.

Other featured speakers included Jeff Hawkes of the Army Heritage Center Foundation and Deanie Hancock-French, the daughter of Walker Hancock, the WWII veteran who created the "Angel of the Resurrection," a memorial to the 1,305 employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad that were killed in WWII that stands in the main concourse of the Station. Col. Michael Parry of the Foundation was also in attendance.

Deanie Hancock-French describing the work of her father, Walker Hancock who was part of the team assigned to recover artworks stolen by the Nazis during WWII.

13-year old Michaela Harrington sang beautiful renditions of "White Cliffs of Dover" and "Amazing Grace" during the wreath laying ceremony at the 30th Street Station.

Ed Bilger of Bugles Across America organized the Philadelphia event and traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the end of the Day ceremony held that evening. His father "Ott" attended the 30th Street Station ceremony.

"Ott" Bilger, WWII veteran

Mike Tsikalas received the National Leaders Medal on behalf of Amtrak for its support for the 2011 Spirit of '45 Day opening ceremony. Warren Hegg, National Program Supervisor, made the presentation during the wreath laying ceremony at the 30th Street Station.

Timmy Kelly and his mother Eileen at the National WWII Memorial on Sunday evening, August 14, after Timmy sang at Spirit of '45 Day ceremonies in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. August 14 is a very special day for the Kelly Family: it's Eileen's birthday!

Dr Cathy Gorn, Executive Director of National History Day, speaking at the Spirit of '45 Day closing ceremony in Washington, D.C. Dr. Gorn is calling on her network of 600,000 middle school and high school students and teachers to interview WWII seniors and help them post their photos and stories on the national web site. NHD will be co-hosting the Spirit of '45 Tribute to Gold Stars of WWII on Memorial Day and the Spirit of '45 Day gathering at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. each year.

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.

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.

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)

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.”

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.”

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

Click here for coverage of the San Jose 2-day event

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

Traveler’s Rest Historical Society, Traveler’s Rest, SC

A capacity crowd gathered at City Hall in Travelers Rest, SC, for a “Spirit of ‘45 Day" event organized by the T.R. Historical Society. Mayor Wayne McCall spoke movingly of the WWII service of his father and read a proclamation proclaiming the second Sunday in every August "Spirit of '45 Day" in Travelers Rest, SC.

The T.R. Historical Society event generated some excellent local publicity Photos from the Day can be viewed here:

The Friends of the 4th of July Motorcycle Club of Laverne, CA, in conjunction with several other organizations honored 45 World War II veterans with American Flags during a Spirit of ’45 Day program at the Hillcrest Retirement organized by the Laverne Chamber of Commerce.  (View the 10 minute video of the program, TX

Mayor Nancy Hunter proclaimed Spirit of ’45 Day in Stephenville, ”We should never forget the sacrifices that were made so that we are able to be free and live in the greatest country in the world,” Hunter said.  There were 2,076 Erath County residents who served in the second world war – 104 of which gave the ultimate sacrifice and died in the battle. Hunter praised the “courage, dedication, self-sacrifice and compassion of the ordinary heroes” of the World War II generation.  ”The entire World War II generation, military and civilian alike, has provided a model of national unity and community that will continue to serve as a source of inspiration for current and future generations of Americans to come together to work for the continued prosperity of the United States and world,” Hunter said.

Stephenville Mayor Nancy Hunter presents a Spirit of '45 Day proclamation to Don Douglas of the American Legion

National Electronics Museum, Lithieum, MD

Volunteer John McCarty talks about the SCR-270 radar used at Pearl Harbor during a Spirit of '45 Day Tour of the National Electronics Museum in Lithieum, MD. The mission of the Museum promotes and encourages the study of science and engineering using America's electronic heritage to educate and inspire students and the general public.

Vintage Flying Museum, Ft. Worth, TX

Claude Platte, one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, attended a Spirit of '45 Day event at the Vintage Flying Museum in Fort Worth, TX organized by Vitas Innovative Hospice. As the crowd thinned, one gentleman on a scooter approached the three Tuskegee Airmen and held out his hand and said, "There's my Angels. You folks saved my butt many times and I'm alive because of you."

Tuskegee Airmen enjoy Spirit of '45 Day event held at the Ft. Worth, TX Vintage Flying Museum.

Tuskegee Airmen National Convention, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Roscoe Brown received a National Leaders Medal during the Tuskegee Airman National Convention held in Washington, DC in early August. Vitas Veterans Liaison Larry Robert attended the convention. Larry has organized more than 20 Spirit of '45 community events in the Atlanta, Georgia area during the past two years. Dr. Brown produced a public service announcement for Spirit of '45 and never misses an opportunity to promote awareness and participation in this nationwide effort to honor all of the members of his remarkable generation. You can see the PSA at

Warren Hegg introduced Long Beach City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske during the first Spirit of '45 national symposium held on the historic Queen Mary on August 14, 2008. Gerrie made good on her promise to Edith to do everything she could to support an annual day of remembrance for the men and women of America's 'greatest generation'.

District 5 City Council District, Long Beach, CA

For more coverage of the Long Beach event, including some great photos,  visit

President Roosevelt (actor Peter Small) with dog Fala showed up for the Long Beach Spirit of '45 Day event held at the El Dorado Senior Center organized by Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske's office. Refreshments were provided by with Vitas Innovative Hospice. Forest Lawn Memorial Parks provided a wreath for a ceremony at the WWII Memorial in the Rosie the Riveter Park. Photo by Diana Lejins

Hillcrest Community Center, Laverne, CA

Vietnam veterans presented American flags to 45 men and women who served in WWII during a Spirit of '45 ceremony in La Verne, CA. The veterans also received certificates from the City, the Chamber of Commerce and the VFW thanking them for their service. A special 8 x 5 ft flag that was flown over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on July 4th was presented to Hillcrest during the ceremony which was led by La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick. La Verne was named one of the 10 Best Towns to live in by Family Circle Magazine in 2010.

View the video of the program

Members of the American Flags Flying motorcycle riders association, kicked off the program by driving through the town with a police escort.

WWII veteran Carl Haskine attended the La Verne Spirit of '45 Day ceremony in his Marine Corps uniform.

Veterans Wall of Honor, Heritage Park, McDonough, GA

Buglers from Bugles Across America once again stepped up to help America observe the "Greatest Generation's Greatest Day" on the second Sunday of August. (Above R to L) BAA members Randy Rawlings, Jim Houston and Larry Wiseman kept the Spirit of '45 alive again this year in Georgia. BAA Assistant State Director Jim Houston did a great job of organizing this year's Spirit of 45 event held on Sunday, August 14th, at the Veterans Wall of Honor in the Heritage Park in McDonough, Georgia, with the support of the Henry County Parks and Recreation Department. County Commissioner Mrs. BJ Mathis attended the ceremony. The Griffin Civil Air Patrol Color Guard presented and retired the colors Music was provided by the Bethany Baptist Church Celebration Choir and Orchestra. At the end of the program, buglers from BAA will performed Taps Chorale, an echo Taps arrangement, written by BAA National Coordinator, Larry Wiseman. (For some truly stirring trumpet playing, please visit Larry's site at

Gunnar's Mate First Class Clifford B. Dunaway, Sr., who served on the USS Atlanta, spoke of his wartime experiences during the ceremony. (Below) Cdr. Pete Branan and Col. Donald G. Amburn.

Twenty-five BAA buglers assembled for a Spirit of '45 program at the Wisconsin State Fair, organized by Bill Seaman, State Director for Bugles Across America, whose goal is to have 1,945 buglers play "Taps" across America every second Sunday in August to honor the more than 400,000 who gave their lives in WWII and the millions of the Greatest Generation who have passed away since the end of the war.

Wisconsin State Fair, Milwaukee, WI

National Cemetery, Salt Lake City, UT

Bugles Across America representatives (l to r) LTCM (ret) David Bettinson, L. Brent Christensen (SD), DeVaughn Simper (AD), Kris Larson and CSM Gary B. Christensen play Taps before Spirit of '45 ceremony during wreath laying ceremony at Salt Lake City's national cemetery. Sgt. McPhee recently returned from service in Afghanistan.

Col. (Ret) Craig V. Morgan, State of Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, was assigned by Governor Gary S. Herbert to read the Declaration at the “Spirit of ’45 Day” and Chief Chaplain of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Chaplain Joseph Westfall volunteered his service to pastor our Celebration. The U.S.M.C. Salt Lake City Recruiting Station – East provided a very “Squared Away” Flag Detail and Color Guard and, Guest Speaker Col. (Ret) Craig V, Morgan touched on poignant comforting messages of hope and sacrifice – his message was clear and meaningful to Gold Star Mothers in attendance. Mrs. Colleen F. Parkin, a Gold Star Mother, expressed her thanks for the ceremony remembering the Greatest Generation and honoring her son Marine Cpl Matthew Reed Smith who fell in service to his country on January 26, 2006.

Proclamation from Utah Governor Richard Herbert proclaiming Spirit of '45 in his state.

St. John’s Church, Richmond, VA

Bud Oakley organized a stirring performance of "Echo Taps" at the historic St. John's Church in Richmond, VA. Left to right Thomas Jefferson, Jim Barrett, USMC Ret., Col. George Washington, Rev. Laura Inscoe, Rector, Bud, Payton Randolph, and Robert Carter Nicholas. St. John’s Church became famous as a living memorial to American liberty when over 100 Virginia colonial leaders, including Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Peyton Randolph met here in March of 1775 to avoid the wrath of Royal Governor Lord Dunmore in Williamsburg. St. John’s Church was the only building in Richmond suitable to hold the delegates. Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” speech was delivered on 23 March 1775.

To see/hear the video of their performance, please visit

Alabama National Cemetery, Montevallo, AL

WWII veteran Bucky Walter walks among the graves at Alabama National Cemetery during the Spirit of '45 Day ceremony organized by Gene Ramsay, Alabama State Director for Bugles Across America. The ceremony was mc'd by Bob Bareford, head of the Support Committee for the Cemetery. The program, which was attended by about 120 people, included music from the 313 Army Band, a reading of a Spirit of '45 Day proclamation by a member of the state legislation, an Iwo Jima reenactment, a musical tribute by the Homeland singers, and a fly over by a vintage aircraft as members of the Alabama National Guard Team fired a volley to pay tribute to veterans of WWII and other eras. Photo courtesy of

World War II spirit gains spotlight at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo |

Young Garrett Woodhead joined his dad, Scott, and four other buglers to perform "Echo Taps" to conclude the Spirit of '45 Day ceremony held at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, AL. (Below) Bugler Doc Kirby also played at the cemetery of Pine Level United Methodist Church, halfway between Troy & Montgomery, as part of the cross country performance of "Taps" to signal the end of the Day.

Volunteer Jim Kuba holds a 3 inch shell for a 50 caliber anti aircraft gun while leading a tour of the USS Slater during National Spirit of '45 Day, on Sunday Aug. 14, 2011 in Albany, NY. The annual event is meant to honor the men and women of World War II, and what they accomplished.

USS Slater, Albany, NY

The USS Slater was just one of the Navy museums that participated in Spirit of ’45 Day this year, led by the Historical Navy Ships Association whose president Admiral “Mac” MacLaughlin helped promote the program organized by the San Diego Veterans Museum and Memorial.

Mac was also on hand to help honor Jerry Coleman and the San Diego Padres during their Spirit of ’45 Night on Monday, August 14, presenting Padres President and CEO Tom Garfinkel with a Spirit of ’45 National Leaders Medal during a pre-game ceremony that honored more than 200 WWII veterans and their families who were invited as guests of the Padres.

For more photos from the USS Slater click here

USS Kidd, Baton Rouge, LA

Maury Drummond, executive director of the USS Kidd Museum in Baton Rouge, LA with Blane Palazzo, who played Taps to honor the members of the Greatest Generation in Louisiana, which was the first state in America to officially proclaim National Spirit of '45 Day last year. The USS Kidd hosted the first annual Spirit of '45 National Leaders Conference in February of this year, in honor of its namesake, Admiral Isaac Kidd who was among the first to be killed in WWII during the attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago.

Watch the video of the USS Kidd’s Spirit of ’45 Day event ‘Spirit of 45′ celebration in Baton Rouge | NBC33 | WVLA

Independence Sea Port Museum, Philadelphia, PA

Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, PA recently created a special exhibit highlighting the Greatest Generation. Titled Celebrating Submarine Sailors and the Spirit of ’45, the exhibit focuses on the lives of submarine sailors during World War II aboard the Becuna (below), a BALAO-class submarine built in 1944 that completed five wartime patrols in the Pacific Ocean.

The USS Becuna is part of the museum’s Historic Ships Zone that includes the Olympia, a protected cruiser in service from 1895-1922 and famous for her role in the Spanish-American War. The exhibit will only be shown until Labor Day; however, Becuna is open for tours year-round with admission to Independence Seaport Museum. For more information, please visit

A growing number of military and WWII related museums participated in Spirit of ’45 Day this year by organizing events.

National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, VA

The National D-Day Memorial held a “Sentimental Journey Concert” on the evening of August 20 to pay tribute to our Greatest Generation.  The Memorial will be helping to spearhead next year’s efforts to identify other WWII memorials throughout the country that can be the venues for special ceremonies every second Sunday in August

The Memorial’s Sentimental Journey concert and ceremony on August 20 featured a performance by the Smith Mt. Lake Harmeneers with patriotic and period tunes like “Over the Rainbow,” “America the Beautiful,” “Georgia On My Mind” and a ceremony to observe National Spirit Day. The concert will also be the last opportunity of the year for visitors to see the illuminated Memorial at night. In honor of National Spirit of ’45 Day, World War II veterans received free admission. For additional information on the Smith Mountain Lake Harmeneers, visit their website at For more information on this event and others at the National D-Day Memorial, call 540-586-3329 or visit

Iwo Jima Survivors Association Ceremony, CT Iwo Jima Memorial

Rick Kowalker and his Riderless Horse with Marine Corps League Color Guard. Marine Corps Commandant Duanne Knowles was guest speaker.

Iwo Jima Survivor, Stanley Dabrowski, called out the names of the 100 Connecticut servicemen killed on Iwo Jima while his comrades tolled the bell for each. Visitors were given the chance to call the names of a loved one, toll a bell and display a photo on the Wall of Honor

.The National Anthem was sung by Elaine Schieffer, bagpipes played by Pat Whelan. While the bagpipes played, everyone lit candles from a light taken from the Eternal Flame that burns 24 hours a day. Marine Corps League member John Lynch was the Master of Ceremonies while fellow MCL members served as the Honor Guard to post colors, play taps, and offer a rifle salute in memory of all the veterans being remembered.

45th Infantry Division Museum, Oklahoma, OK

Brigadier General Robbier Asher, director of the joint staff of the Oklahoma Army National Guard. The ceremony also included WWII re-enactors and vehicles.

The 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City, OK, hosted a commemorative ceremony on the parade grounds of the 45th Infantry Division to recognize the service and sacrifice of the WWII veterans of the US Armed Forces who brought the war to an end in August 1945.  Brigadier General Robbier Asher, director of the joint staff of the Oklahoma Army National Guard, was the featured speaker for the program, which included the playing of “Taps” by members of Bugles Across America as part of this year’s cross country “Tribute to a Generation.”

Bugles Across America members who participated with the 45th Infantry Division Museum in celebrate the Spirit of '45 (From left to right) Roger Meyer, Douglas Conrady (BAA State Director), Hugh Kinsey, Joe Bryant, and Miku Stoner played rolling Taps. Another BAA member, Bill Sullivan, played Taps as part of another ceremony held in Bristow, OK.

Cason Monk-Metcalf, Nacgodoches, TX

Several Dignity Memorial funeral homes joined the effort this year. Cason Monk-Metcalf hosted a special Day in Nacgodoches, TX for more than 200 community members that attracted some great local press coverage.

Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Home in Nacogdoches, TX, one of the original Spirit of '45 Day Founding Members, held its second annual gathering this year which was attended by about 200 people, including these WWII veterans who were honored for their service during the event.

Local historian and author Bobby Johnson led a moment of silence for the 22,000 Texans who lost their lives in WWII. "Texas itself saw more than 750,000 of its sons and daughters serve in the military," said Johnson. "When you consider that the state then was about 6.5 million persons than you get an idea of how vital that three-quarters of a million was."

Oak Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park, San Jose, CA

Oakhill Funeral Home was one of four members of the Dignity Memorial national network who partnered with Lockheed Martin and several senior living communities to co-sponsor the WWII West Coast Weekend event that attracted thousands to San Jose's History Park on August 13-14.

Carothers Funeral Home and WWII Last Man Standing Club, Gaston Memorial Cemetery, Gaston, NC

Bill Rhinehart, director of Carothers Funeral Home, Dignity Memorial (right), joins Tony Sherrill in singing the National Anthem during the 2nd annual Spirit of '45 Day program organized by with the World War II Last Man Club and the Marine Corps League on Sunday evening at Gaston Memorial Park on South New Hope Road in Gaton, NC. The program featured a three-volley salute and the playing of taps to recognize the anniversary of the end of World War II. Photo courtesy of the Gaston Gazette

Full the full description of the Gaston, NC program with additional photos and short video clip, visit

Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home and HomeInstead, Statesville, NC

Dignity Memorial’s provider Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home teamed up with its local HomeInstead affiliate in Stateville, NC to host a Spirit of ’45 Day this year.

Freda McKinnon and Barb Carmon perform together during the Spirit of '45 Day program held at the Dover Museum in New London, IA
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