2011 National Spirit of ’45 Day observed in hundreds of communities across the country  

A former WAVE in Florida enjoys her Day

Hundreds of communities held Spirit of ’45 Day events and activities in every state in America 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.

Photos and brief descriptions sent in from people who organized Spirit of ’45 events so they can be shared here and on the Spirit of ’45 Facebook pages with links to their web sites.

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 (www.aaslh.org) 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 HistoryNet.com. ‘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:

1. 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.

2. Branson, MO
Here’s the link to the coverage of the arrival of “The Kiss” in Branson, MO http://youtu.be/kj5u5VdJE9

3. 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.

4. 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

5. 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.

6. 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.

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