News :: Nation’s Veterans Day Parades Show Their Spirit!

November 15, 2011

Girl Scouts from Long Island form their line in the Spirit of '45 section of the nation's largest Veterans Day Parade.

Spirit of ’45 was part of Veterans Day parades from New York City to San Diego last Friday, with as many as 200 youth marching with enlarged photos of WWII veterans from their community to help raise public awareness about National Spirit of ’45 Day.

Once again, groups of Boy and Girls Scouts led the way with the support of volunteers from high school and middle schools.

Rear view of U-Haul truck carrying the "Kiss" in the Veterans Day Parade held in Chinatown, the only entry from the NYC Nation's Veterans Day Parade to participate in this annual parade honoring the Chinese American veterans that is organized by American Legion Post 1291.

The youth were joined by parents and teachers who have are helping them collect the photos of their “ordinary heroes” so they can be included in their state’s Wall of Honor that will be displayed on the capitol steps of all 50 states on August 1 next year to kick off the countdown to National Spirit of ’45 Day which is observed on the second Sunday of every August.

We are especially grateful to our National Partner the Weider History Group and to U-Haul for their support.

WHG promoted the Spirit on their web site.  www.historynet.com

U-Haul provided the trucks that carried the 6 ft replicas of Seward Johnson’s famous sculpture depicting the “Times Square Kiss” that was part of Veterans Day Parades in New York City, Branson, MO, and San Jose, CA.

Special thank to Mr. Johnson, Paula Stoeke, Bernie, Claire and all the staff of the Sculpture Foundation for making this possible.

Our goal for Veterans Day 2012 is to have a Spirit of ’45 entry in at least one parade in each state!

Here are some highlights and photos from this year: New York City “Nation’s Veterans Day Parade” -  This year’s Parade included representatives from the Navajo Code Talkers, the Tuskegee Airmen and other Spirit of ’45 National Partners who marched 20 blocks up 5th Avenue in the nation’s largest Veterans Day Parade.

Nell Calloway riding up 5th Avenue in New York Citywith Seward Johnson's sculpture of the famous Times Square Kiss.

Actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Dr. Roscoe Brown, Spirit of '45 National Spokesman stand in front of a float promoting the new George Lucas film "Red Tails," that tells the story of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.

This year’s Spirit of ’45 entry was led by Ms. Nell Calloway, grand daughter of Gen. Claire Chennault, who led the famous Flying Tigers during WWII.  Ms Calloway is the director of the General Claire Chennault Aviation & Military Museum in Monroe, Louisiana.

The Flying Tigers were the “first responders” to the Pearl Harbor attacks that brought America into WWII, and led from the initial counterattack in the skies over China on December 20, 1941, a full 4 months before the famous Doolittle Raiders in April 1942.

Nell has been a frequent guest of the Chinese Government who pay tribute to the memory of Gen. Chennault and the “Tigers” as the symbol of American forces who fought alongside the Chinese people to liberate them from the Japanese occupation which ended on August 14, 1945.

The Spirit of ’45 team were invited to attend the ceremonies to honor Mr. Fang Wong who was elected National Commander of the American Legion, the first Chinese American to hold this prestigious position in any major veterans service organization.

National Commander Wong is a member of American Legion Lt. B.R. Kimlau Chinese Memorial Post 1291.  The Post was founded in New York City’s Chinatown by a group of WWII veterans in 1945.

Spirit of ’45 was invited to take part in the Post’s annual Veterans Day Parade that included a moving ceremony held at the Veterans Memorial in Chinatown in English and Chinese.

The Post will be helping to encourage other communities across America to make sure their Chinese American WWII veterans are included in their state Wall of Honor and carried in their local parades next year.

San Jose, CA More than 200 youth and adult volunteers marched in the Spirit of ’45 entry in San Jose’s Veterans Day Parade, despite the rains that came down throughout the day.  The Spirit of ’45 group was organized by Debbie Porras and her husband Jorge who are active in the Scouts in the Santa Clara County.

San Diego, CA San Diego again fielded an energetic and enthusiastic intergenerational group that honored the WWII veterans of the “City of Service” and promoted awareness about the forthcoming Spirit of ’45 National Leaders Weekend that will be held in San Diego February 17 - 19, next year.

National Commander Fang Wong and members of American Legion Lt. B.R. Kimlau Chinese Memorial Post 1291 during Veterans Day Parade. Nell Calloway presents photo of her grandfather, Gen. Claire Chennault to incoming American Legion National Commander Fang Wong during Veterans Day banquet More than 200 volunteers kept the Spirit of '45 alive in San Jose's 94th annual Veterans Day Parade. San Diego kept the Spirit of '45 alive in its annual Veterans Day Parade, led by students from High Tech High School, Girl Scouts and other groups.

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