Spirit of ’45 Day, August 11
By Janet Stoica
AUBURN – If you know a World War II veteran or are related to one of our Greatest Generation who lives in or near the Auburn area, the Chester P. Tuttle Post wants to hear from you. In 2010, Congress voted to observe a “National Spirit of ‘45 Day” on the second Sunday of every August, to honor the men and women who were the heroes of the World War II generation. August 11, 1945, was the day that President Harry S Truman declared WWII over.
The men and women who bravely served during this war are passing away at an estimated rate of one every 90 seconds, and the Tuttle Post would like to honor and celebrate those who are still with us by hosting a 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The event organizers will salute local men and women who served in uniform, pay tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and inspire younger generations to carry on their legacy of national unity and commitment to service.
The idea for the tribute originated with June Ganley, whose father is a WWII veteran. “As a hospice social worker I see how meaningful patients’ time in the military is to them. When I saw the statistics that only 10% of WWII vets remain, I knew this would be one of our last opportunities to show them we haven’t forgotten their sacrifices or service,” she said.
Food will be provided at no charge for the WWII vets and their families who register before August 7. All others who would like to attend may do so with a request being made for a small donation for food. Local sponsors include F.W. Webb, Mastermans, Worcester Homecare, and Park ‘n Shop. There will be an opening ceremony, guest speakers, reading of local proclamations and resolutions, music from the 1940s, wreath laying, individual awards for all WWII vets, and military vehicles from the period.
“This was the last world war,” said Chaplain Steve Gallant of the Tuttle Post, “the United States saved the world, really. Europe was about to fall, Russia wasn’t very strong, and it took the United States, who didn’t want to get into the war, to turn the tide. So, when Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor that was it. We were in.”
Mr. Gallant went on to say that World War II was more of a conventional war. “Everyone knew who the enemy was,” he said. “Your uniform identified you. Today, you don’t know your enemy. We all have our circle of people who we talk to and being at the Post sometimes allows you to hear the stories of our veterans who fought in WWII.
“We have 31 member veterans of this era from Auburn and the surrounding towns. Unfortunately, we cannot locate and find all of the vets because of today’s privacy laws. We’ve contacted various Government branches but have been denied access.
“We’re trying to honor and comfort our veterans to give them the recognition that they might not have gotten from family in the past. We encourage them and their families to contact us.”
All WWII veterans at the celebration will receive a Ruptured Duck commemorative pin during the official pinning ceremony. The Duck pin indicates an honorably-discharged WWII veteran.
The Auburn event will be held on Sunday, August 16, at 1:00 p.m., Chester P. Tuttle Post, 88 Bancroft Street, Auburn MA 01501. World War II veterans and their families can register by phoning (508) 499-8850 or by email: [email protected]
Janet Stoica can be reached at [email protected].