For immediate release: June 30, 2011
EVENT TO HONOR WORLD WAR II VETERANS
HONOLULU – The state of Hawai‘i will join historical organizations, military museums and memorials nationwide in a special commemoration to pay tribute to the men and women of the “Greatest Generation” on the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II (WWII).
The event will be held on Saturday, August 13 at the Waikiki Shell in honor of Hawai‘i’s WWII veterans as part of an inaugural nationwide observance to remember and celebrate the contributions of America’s Greatest Generation. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution in 2010 proclaiming the second weekend of August each year as “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive Forever Days.”
“This may be the last chance for Hawai‘i to say ‘mahalo’ to the remaining members of the generation who endured the Great Depression, fought in uniform and on the home front to save Western civilization and then helped both friend and foe rebuild a shattered world. August 14, 1945 was undoubtedly the Greatest Generation’s ‘Greatest Day’,” said Warren Hegg, national supervisor for “Keeping the Spirit of ’45 Alive,” a non-profit campaign established to ensure there is a permanent day each year for Americans to remember and honor the WWII generation. “We are proud to have Hawai‘i, which played such an important role in the WWII, be part of the nationwide commemoration,” Hegg added.
Members of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team and other Hawai‘i heroes will be honored by country artist Lee Greenwood (Proud to be an American). A special Flags of Liberty ceremony will be held, along with local performers and the National Guard 111th Army Band.
The event will take place at the Waikiki Shell from 7:00 pm until 9:30 pm. Tickets are on sale for $25 and $35, except for WWII veterans who will not be charged. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster or the Blaisdell Box Office.
The idea of a special national day to honor the memory of the WWII generation was proposed in 2009 during a gathering of the nation’s top WWII history and heritage organizations held on the Queen Mary. The gathering was hosted by Edith Shain, the nurse in the iconic Life magazine photo of her being kissed by a joyous sailor in Times Square on the day America learned the war was over. Shain had campaigned for a permanent national day to honor her generation until her death at age 91 in June 2010.
“I vividly remember where I was on the day the war ended, as do many World War II veterans and those of us who were youngsters at the time,” said Rear Adm. Edward K. Walker, J., Sc, USN (Ret.), president and CEO of the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. “We are thrilled that so many Naval sites around the country, including Hawai‘i, are joining us in observing this historic day by participating in the Spirit of ’45 campaign.”
“We are extremely honored that our state was awarded the privilege to host the Spirit of ’45 event,” said Vanita Rae Smith, the Hawai‘i production organizer. “Everyone in Hawai‘i feels the spirit of WWII in some way. This inaugural event will touch all of us who have had family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances wear a uniform or help those in uniform. I can think of no better way to honor those who gave so much during the WWII years to preserve freedom and democracy around the world. It will be a memorable event not to be missed,” Smith added.
Tickets are on sale at the Blaisdell Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com. Charge by phone 1-800-745-3000
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Contact: Vanita Rae Smith