KEEP THE SPIRIT OF ’45 ALIVE

USS MissouriKissFlagsKEEP THE SPIRIT OF 45 ALIVE IN 2015.
To do so is to preserve the legacy of the Greatest Generation, the men and women who served in WWII, including those on the home front. This year is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

In 2010, Congress passed House Concurrent Resolution 226, supporting a national day of remembrance. The day to remember is August 14th, 1945. “We want to recapture the spirit of that generation and give a reminder of the fact that people today share DNA with those who achieved so much in 1945. This is the last chance to celebrate this spirit while there are still surviving men and women of this generation;” said Warren C. Hegg, “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive’s” national supervisor.

Among the Spirit of ’45 Day activities are wreath-laying ceremonies, big-band swing dances, observances at professional sporting events, World War II aircraft flyovers, concerts, open houses at senior living communities, and “kiss-ins” to re-enact the famous victory kiss between a sailor and a nurse in New York City’s Times Square on Aug. 14,1945.

Jerry Yellin Fighter Pilot over Iwo JimaJerry Yellin vividly remembers Aug.14, 1945, the ¬ final day of World War II. While returning to Iwo Jima with fellow pilots after flying his P-51 Mustang on a strafing mission over Tokyo that day, Yellin said, “I found out that my wingman was killed.” Upon landing at Iwo Jima, he then learned that the war had ended just hours before, making his wingman, 1st Lt. Philip Schlamberg, one of the war’s ¬ final casualties.

Now, nearly 70 years later, Yellin wants the nation to remember Schlamberg and all those who sacrifi-ced so much to win the war. Yellin, an Air Force Association (AFA) member who turns 91 in February, has been travelling across the country as national spokesman for “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive.”
I was privileged to meet and interview Jerry Yellin on a trip to Guam and on to Iwo Jima with the “Military Historical Tours” of Woodbridge, Virginia in 2010. His story is featured in my book “Pain and Purpose in the Pacific.”

Saturday, Aug. 14, 2015 will mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. To highlight airpower’s pivotal role in the Allied victory, AFA, a “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive” partner working with the Chennault Aviation Museum, is among the organizations that are drumming up awareness and support for the multiple commemorative events planned across the United States and overseas.
“The Air Force Association is very proud to support this commemoration lest we forget what this generation contributed to our freedom and the freedom of generations to come,” said AFA President Craig R. McKinley.

The events planned include the Commemorative Air Force, Experimental Aircraft Association War Birds of America, who is inviting owners of World War II vintage aircraft to participate in flyovers in more than 100 communities across the United States on the weekend of Aug. 14-16, 2015.

To celebrate the Army’s legacy, “Keep the Spirit of ‘45 Alive” partners are coordinating a cross-country convoy of some 200 World War II military vehicles from Washington, D.C., to San Diego.

Among the events surrounding the naval component will be vintage World War II ships firing their guns and a swing dance aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Midway in San Diego harbor.

Additional activities for “Keep the Spirit of ‘45 Alive” will include a continuous around-the-world wreath-laying ceremony that will start in military cemeteries in Asia and Europe and culminate in Hawaii.

For more information, go to www.spiritof45.org. http://www.airforcemag.com/Wingman/Magazine%20Documents/2015/January%202015/W0115spirit.pdf

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