News :: Summary of Spirit of ’45 Signature Events

July 31, 2011

Several hundred Spirit of ’45 Day activities are being planned across America in August, including observances with participating Major League Baseball teams, open houses at senior and assisted living communities, Spirit celebrations at state veterans homes, wreath laying ceremonies, and programs organized by various WWII and community museums. Vitas is participating in many of these events.

2011 Spirit of ’45 “Signature Events”

Several hundred Spirit of ’45 Day activities are being planned across America in August, including observances with participating Major League Baseball teams, open houses at senior and assisted living communities, Spirit celebrations at state veterans homes, wreath laying ceremonies, and programs organized by various WWII and community museums. Vitas is participating in many of these events.

Here is a list of some of the higher profile events/activities/programs taking place in Vitas Program markets that may have the potential for raising the company’s profile in a positive way among veterans and the general public:

Cross Country “Tour” of the Times Square Kiss (July 20 - 24) U-Haul has donated the use of one of its trucks to transport three 6 ft replicas of the 25 ft Seward Johnson sculpture depicting the “kiss seen round the world” from New York’s Times Square to the Port of Oakland. The truck will carry signage promoting awareness about National Spirit of ’45 Day along its route.

One of the statues will be dropped off in Kansas City, MO to be picked up by the Veterans Task Force of Branson, MO, to be featured in their Spirit of ’45 programs. Branson bills itself as the “Veterans Capitol of America” http://bransonveterans.com

The VTA is planning on having the statue displayed in Kansas City for 1-2, either in front of the historic Union Station, the Hallmark Crown Center, or other venue, before being taken to Branson.

The second statue is being shipped to Hawaii from Oakland on July 29 (Edith Shain’s birthday) where it will be featured as part of the Spirit of ’45 show that is being held at the 8,000-seat Waikiki Shell on Saturday, August 13, starring Country and Western superstar Lee Greenwood (rack cards attached)

The third statue will be displayed in front of several Spirit of ’45 participating members prior to being taken down to be part of a special memorial service for Ms. Shain that will take part at the 2-day event at the History Park in San Jose (see below). From July 25 – August 13, the statue will be displayed in front of the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, Ca, the FRD Presidential Yacht (SS Potomac) in Jack London Square in Oakland, CA, and on San Francisco’s Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf where the SS Jeremiah O’Brien and USS Pampanito are berthed. (These ships are all members of the Historical Navy Ships Association which is participating in Spirit of ’45, a number of which are located in states and cities where Vitas has Programs who may want to contact them to see if they would like to collaborate.)

We are working with our partners at each of these locations to develop media coverage to build up public awareness and participation in Spirit of ’45 Day.

There are many opportunities for Vitas to be part of the various events and activities that will be taking place in the Bay Area, as well as in Kansas City and possibly other cities along the truck route.

Tuskegee Airmen Annual Convention August 3 - 7, Washington, DC Vitas is a sponsor of the convention and has some of its staff attending. We are working with the Airmen through Dr. Roscoe Brown to recognize the youth who assisted our Memorial Day program in Washington, D.C.

Warren Hegg will present Dr. Brown and the Airmen with a Spirit of ’45 National Leaders Award for their support on behalf of the widow and family of the legendary Tuskegee Airman Stanley Harris.

Two-day Spirit of ’45 event at Battleship New Jersey, Camden, NJ, Aug 13-14 This is the largest event of its kind being hosted by a WWII museum, and could be a good opportunity for Vitas to gain additional visibility for its work in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg, one of the co-sponsors of the Spirit of ’45 Day resolution in the Senate has agreed to do a Spirit of ’45 PSA and may make an appearance at the Battleship during their program. Details about the program can be obtained from Jim Kronbach who attended the Spirit of ’45 National Leaders Conference in Baton Rouge, LA.

Rededication of Amtrak WWII Memorial at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia

We are making this 1-hour ceremony at 10:00 AM the official kick off event for National Spirit of ’45 Day this year, highlighting Philadelphia’s importance as the second largest production center of the “Arsenal of Democracy” during WWII, and the role that America’s railroads played during the war.

The program will center on a rededication ceremony for the 39 ft. monument commemorating the 1,307 Pennsylvania Railroad employees who died in World War II. The statue, which Amtrak is having cleaned for this event, stands in the Main Concourse of the Station, was designed by WWII Army veteran Walter Hancock, whose daughter and nephew will be attending the ceremony.

The Mayor of Philadelphia, who chairs the Amtrak Cites Committee, has been invited to lead the dedication ceremony and lay a wreath in honor of all the members of the Greatest Generation of Philadelphia and the other cities that Amtrak serves. The program is being designed with inputs from Linda Franglipane and will include comments from local WWII veterans and the president of the Four Chaplains Foundation, and singing by the daughter of Vitas Program #61 GM Kevin Harrington who will be accompanying Philadelphia’s “Favorite Son” Timmy Kelly.

San Francisco Bay Spirit of ’45 Weekend (Aug13 – 14)

There are multiple opportunities for Vitas to be involved in the various events and activities leading up to and including the programs planned for August 13-14 at the San Jose History Park and the participating WWII museums in the Bay Area (described above).

Details of these events/activities/programs are still coming in but each of them would welcome participation and support from Vitas and our other partners, including help with media relations and obtaining supporting proclamations.
We can provide contacts for each participating venue.

The highest profile and most media friendly components will be the arrival and presentation of the Times Square Kiss described above and the Bay Area Spirit of ’45 Convoy comprised of 50 WWII military vehicles with signage that will come over the Golden Gate bridge, stop at San Francisco’s Pier 45 to pick up the statue and proceed down the Peninsula to the Park. We are working on getting as much TV and print coverage as possible.

Collier County Spirit of ’45 Day Event, Naples Florida (Aug 14)

This community event is based on a successful program led last year by Dr. Lois Bolin and Naples Backyard History, a local museum. Tamara DeCaro, marketing director of Vitas Program #19 is already very involved in the planning which includes several other partner organizations. A description of this event is attached with this memo.

Spirit of ’45 Day at Veterans Museum & Memorial, San Diego, CA (Aug 14)

This event is a repeat of one held last year in Balboa Park and complements the Spirit Night that the San Diego Padres will be hosting the following evening at PETCO Park. The Museum is organizing an end-of-the-Day wreath laying ceremony at the 25ft Times Square Kiss statue that stands in front of the USS Midway as part of the Port of San Diego’s “Greatest Generation Walk” comprised of several WWII memorials. The second annual Spirit of ’45 National Leaders Conference will be held in San Diego in February 2012.

Spirit of ’45 Day Community Event, Long Beach, CA (Aug 18)

City Council Member Gerrie Schipske is organizing a major Spirit of ’45 Day event in the Rosies the Riveter Park. Gerrie met Edith Shain during the original planning meetings for Spirit of 45 Day that were held on the Queen Mary on August 14, 2008, and is a great champion of our program. She is particularly interested in promoting the idea of honoring the Rosies of the era that is a key part of the WWII heritage of Long Beach. Marie Hagerty, GM of Vitas Program #94, which hosted 9 Spirit of ’45 Day events last year, is working closely with Gerrie’s staff.

Spirit of ’45 Day Closing Ceremony, Washington, D.C. (Aug 14)

A ceremony to officially close National Spirit of ’45 Day will take place at 7:00 PM at the National World War II Memorial. The ceremony will featuring remarks by Dr. Cathy Gorn, president of National History Day who will call on America’s youth to help preserve and honor the memory of the “ordinary heroes” of the WWII generation on the anniversary of their ‘Greatest Day.”

Representatives of each of the major service branches, the merchant marine, and the Home Front, will be invited to attend. The program will feature singing by Timmy Kelly and music provided by buglers who will play “Amazing Grace” and “Taps” to trigger the cross country wreath laying ceremony that will begin on the East Coast and end in Hawaii (see below). Vitas should have a representative to speak briefly about the company’s commitment to the veterans of WWII and of all eras, and their families. Vitas volunteers are warmly welcomed as well to help with the ceremony

We want to get as much coverage for this ceremony as possible as it will be an annual event to end the Day and initiative the next 12 months public awareness/participation campaign.

Spirit of ’45 Day at California State Veterans Home, Yountville, CA (Aug 14)

The largest state veterans home in the country, and had a successful Spirit of ’45 event last year that was supported by the Elks and featured a group of Taiko Drummers from Hiroshima, Japan (?) who we understand will be returning again this year. We are inviting the Drummers to appear at one of the other Bay Area Spirit of ’45 Day events during their West Coast visit.

We have a flag that was flown over the US Air Force Memorial in Washington, DC on Memorial Day in honor of long term resident Col. Richard Hum who hosted Edith Shain during her visit to the Home in April 2010 and interviewed her for their internal TV network. We would like to propose that someone from Vitas San Francisco or Sacramento Program provide a banner, cake, etc. to the Home and have someone on hand to present the flag to Col. Hum’s widow during their Spirit of ’45 Day event.

Spirit of ’45 Day Event in Palms Spring, CA (July 20 and Aug 14)

On July 20 we will be presenting a Spirit of ’45 National Leaders Medal to the Desert Sun recognizing them as the newspaper that did the most to raise public awareness about the 65th anniversary of WWII with the series of award winning articles that Denise Goolsby wrote last year and which led to our receiving good coverage in USAToday. We will try to attract additional media attention through the Gannet papers (which honored Ms. Goolsby, and possibly USAToday.)

This presentation event (brochure attached) is being arranged by the Community Marketing Director of Mission Hills Senior Living of Rancho Mirage which is having a Spirit of ’45 event on August 14, and who is mobilizing the other communities in the rest of the Integrated Senior Living corporate network to have similar events. Several of these communities are located in Vitas Program markets and could be opportunities for collaboration. http://www.islllc.com/locations

Wreath laying ceremonies at WWII memorials and military cemeteries (Aug 14)

There are multiple wreath laying ceremonies being organized at various locations across the country that Vitas could participate in by helping secure a proclamation, donate a wreath, escort WWII veterans, etc. We are focusing on encouraging all Vitas Programs to participate or initiate a wreath laying ceremony at an appropriate location in their market areas as a simple but effective public event to honor the WWII generation in a way that raises public awareness about National Spirit of ’45 Day and its supporters.

There is a database of WWII memorials and cemeteries at www.WW2museums.com that can help Vitas Program staff locate a venue in their state/city.

Buglers can be recruited from our partner Bugles Across America, whose members are already joining up to perform “Taps” in many places across the country (several hundred members of BAA participated in the cross country effort last year. We are encourage Vitas to also reach out to invite the Dignity Memorial providers in their area, as we are in the process of bringing them aboard as a national sponsor.

A description of a basic ceremony is included in the Event Planning Toolkit available on the Spirit of ’45 web site.

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