Bob Maxwell of Bend, Oregon's only living Medal of Honor recipient, and veterans activist Dick Tobiason were among those on hand last week as Gov. John Kitzhaber signed legislation designating the second Sunday of August each year as "Spirit of '45 Day" to honor the World War II generation
The Legislature unanimously approved the legislation, which designates the new Spirit of '45 Day "to commemorate the service and sacrifice of the World War II generation."
It notes word received on Aug. 14, 1945 of the end of that war, during which more than 400,000 Americans gave their lives in service to their country.
Tobiason said that "Spirit of ‘45 Day" nicely compliments and perpetuates the legacy of the national Honor Flight program, which has flown hundreds of WWII veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II Memorial and other historic sites.
Tobiason said the Bend Heroes Foundation was invited to testify in support of the legislation.
Maxwell presented the governor with an autographed Medal of Honor book. Maureen Buscio, representing Shilo Inns, a major partner in the Honor Flight program, presented Kitzhaber with an autographed photo album the group presents to Honor Flight veterans.
Tobiason says he briefly described the Honor Flight operations to the audience, while the governor expressed gratitude and noted his father was a WWII veteran.
Tobiason says he's helping the governor enroll his late father in the WWII Registry managed by the national WWII Memorial in Washington, DC: http://www.wwiimemorial.com/default.asp?page=registry.asp
After the ceremony we presented "Jewel of the Mall" books about the D.C. WWII memorial to Barbara Jensen, Oregon's "Spirit of ‘45 Day" organizer and Cameron Smith, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs.
Spirit of ‘45 Day will be celebrated across 500 cities on August 11 of this year, Tobiason said.
He also noted that the Bend Heroes Foundation will honor 50 more WWII veterans during its eighth Honor Flight trip to DC, Sept. 18-22., thus having honored 307 WWII veterans with free four day "trips of a lifetime."