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New Annual Day to Honor “Greatest Generation”

by AASLH on

AASLH Invites History Organizations to Observe National Spirit of ’45 Day in their community on second Sunday in August

AASLH encourages history organizations across the country to join the national campaign to establish an annual day to honor the achievements of the men and women of what is commonly referred to as America’s “greatest generation.”

Last year, Congress unanimously voted in support of “National Spirit of ’45 Day,” to be observed on the second Sunday in every August, coinciding with August 14, 1945, the day President Truman announced that World War II was over and America assumed the leadership for rebuilding the postwar world.

Communities across the country are being encouraged to hold observances this year on Sunday, August 14, when National Spirit of ’45 Day will be announced at all Major League Baseball games played that day. Public events are being planned for several cities which will feature 1940’s entertainment, WWII re-enactors, educational forums and wreath laying ceremonies.  Hundreds of buglers will perform “Taps” at wreath laying ceremonies beginning at the National WWII Memorial in Washington, DC and ending in the Punchbowl National Cemetery in Hawaii.

The idea of a national day to honor the “ordinary heroes” of the WWII generation originated with Edith Shain, the nurse in the famous photograph taken in Times Square on the day the war ended, who passed away last year at age 92.  Ms. Shain was particularly concerned that the youth of America be inspired by the courage, self-sacrifice, commitment to service and ‘can do’ spirit of those who endured the Great Depression, defeated the forces of aggression and then went on to rebuild the postwar world.

The campaign to raise public awareness about this new national day is attracting the support of a wide array of organizations including the History Channel, the American Society on Aging, the Assisted Living Federation of America and the Weider History Group. Several WWII history museums and groups are organizing events, including members of the Historical Navy Ships Association, the Tuskegee Airmen, and others. Several corporations that are proud of their WWII heritage are being recruited as sponsors.

“1945 was the defining year of the last century, and virtually every city and town in America has a story to tell about what happened in their community on August 14,” said Warren Hegg, National Supervisor of “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive!” the grassroots initiative that led the effort to secure the new national day.  “Despite a national debt of 125% of GDP, this country made an unprecedented effort to lay the foundations for a better future for both friend and former enemy alike.   It was America’s ‘finest hour.’  National Spirit of ’45 Day provides an opportunity for people to be reminded of the qualities of a generation that came together to overcome adversity, especially at a time when America is once again facing historic challenges.”

Association members are being invited to participate in National Spirit of ’45 Day by organizing or supporting commemorative activities in their community, and sharing the stories of what took place in their community on August 14, 1945, so that it can be included in a national archive.

Visit the website for more information about National Spirit of ’45 Day.