In August 2010, Congress unanimously voted in favor of a national "Spirit of '45 Day" honoring the legacy of the men and women who were the "ordinary heroes" of the World War II generation. "Spirit of '45 Day " is now being observed in hundreds of communities throughout America on the second Sunday in every August, aligning with the anniversary of Aug. 14, 1945 -the day President Harry S. Truman announced that World War II was over- the Greatest Generation's Greatest Day.
On Sunday, Aug. 11, the Town of Fort Myers Beach will hold its third annual "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive!" event honoring our local WWII veterans.This year's tribute will be held at Junkanoo on the Beach, located at 3040 Estero Blvd. WWII veterans and one guest will receive FREE dinners; additional guests accompanying the WWII Vets may purchase a dinner at the event for $10; all others may purchase food/beverages in the main restaurant. Social hour (cash bar) begins at 4:30 p.m., with dinner served from 5 to 6 p.m. with 1940s and patriotic music donated by DAZ.
Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremonial festivities which begin at 6 p.m. and include the National Anthem by Fort Myers Beach Town Manager Terry Stewart, color guards, rifle teams and bagpiper, helicopter flyover (Lee County Sheriff's Dept.) with an aerial salute to the American flag (FMB Fire & Rescue Dept.), guest speakers, the Wreath at Sea ceremony (U.S. Coast Guard, Fort Myers Beach Station) 21-gun salute and much more. The ceremonies will end with the traditional playing of "Taps" in keeping with "Taps" being played across the nation at 7 p.m.
According to the National Spirit of '45 organization's website: "Life magazine published an iconic photo of a joyous sailor kissing a nurse in New York's Times Square that has become the symbol of "Spirit of '45 Day," calling the year 1945 "the hinge of history" as a new world was born and with it a new America Every town and city has a story of Aug. 14, 1945 to tell. The surviving members of the generation that endured the difficult times of the Great Depression, achieved victory in WWII, and then went on to rebuild the world, are now departing, but the memory of their extraordinary achievements lives on in the family histories of their descendants."
"Spirit of '45 Day" is to remind us of the Greatest Generation's courage, shared sacrifice, and commitment to service so that their example of national unity and community can inspire future generations of Americans, especially our nation's youth. Don't miss this opportunity to "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive" in honor of the unsung heroes of WWII.
Joe Kosinski is the FMB Spirit of '45 Coordinator and Vice Mayor for the Town of Fort Myers Beach.