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

August 18, 2011

7. 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.

8. 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!

9. 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

10. 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.

11. 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, PA

Read the Philadelphia Inquirer article http://articles.philly.com/2011-08-15/news/29889420_1_wwii-veterans-monuments-men-veterans-affairs

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. 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.  

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