Williamson County Public Library Blog

National Spirit of ’45 Day

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By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Department

This year Williamson County Public Library is having a program on Saturday, August 15 in conjunction with Spirit of ’45 to commemorate the end of World War II and the soldiers who fought, served, returned or died during the war.

Why August 15th? The Greatest Generation, as Tom Brokaw so eloquently named them, would know immediately. Japan surrendered on august 14, and August 15 immediately began to be celebrated as V-J Day (as June 6th was V – E Day.) 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. As those who served in World War II and those who lived during it pass away, many people began to realize that as they pass away, so does our connection to World War II and remembering the cost and sorrow of the war.

Led by Susan Collins, Senator from Maine, supported by Senators Daniel Inouye and Frank Lautenberg, who co-sponsored this resolution, Congress in 2010 voted unanimously to create a national day to preserve and honor those who served in World War II. Spirit of ’45 Day is observed on the second Friday of August this year, aligning with August 14, 1945, when spontaneous celebrations broke out across America at the news that the most destructive war in history was over. The purpose of Spirit of ’45 Day is to renew the sense of community, national unity, shared sacrifice and “can do” attitude that were the hallmarks of the generation that endured the difficult times of the Great Depression, fought to defend democracy in the largest mobilization of manpower since the building of the pyramids, and led an unprecedented effort to assure a better future for their children and their children’s children, for both former ally and foe alike.

Spirit of ’45 Day has been steadily gaining traction each year, and is now being celebrated throughout the country with events and activities organized by museums and community history associations, WWII heritage groups, senior living communities and care providers, veterans’ organizations, youth leadership organizations, and others.  This year, Scarlett Johansson and Elton John both are stepping up in a big way to help commemorate this generation. John’s mother manned an anti-aircraft gun during the Battle of Britain, and Johansson’s great uncle was the last soldier to die in combat on August 15, 1945.

WWII in Images: Remembrance and Reflection


WCPL Library Events Commemorating the end of World War II and Spirit of ’45

Thursday Night at the Movies – Battleground

Thursday, Aug. 13, 6:00 pm

Battleground, the classic movie William Wellman directed, is about a group of men fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.  Battleground was filmed in B&W in 1949 and is considered one of the best World War II movies ever made.  Starring Van Johnson, Ricardo Montalban, James Whitmore, Leon Ames and George Murphy, the movie follows a squad from the 101 Airborne Division as they hold off the Germans in the Ardennes in the winter of 1944, in what later became the Battle of the Bulge.

The movie is unrated and is 118 minutes long.  For more information, check here.

A Conversation with History

Main Library on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Join us for personal interviews and informal discussion with a WW II generation panel.  Talk and listen to those who lived or were in the service during World War II.  Panel guests will include a fighter pilot, a ground soldier, a nurse, a bomber pilot, a spouse of a Tuskeegee airman, a woman who fled Germany as a child, and a resident who remembers Franklin and Williamson County during the war years.

If you haven’t guessed the names yet, those speaking are George Blackburn, Betty Fuller, Jimmy Gentry, Jerry Neal, Inge Smith (Miss Inge), Stan Tyson, Togue Uchida and Kate Kinnard White (J. C. White).

Sponsored by The Williamson County Public Library and The Spirt of ‘45


Other Events

World War II Exhibition

At the Williamson County Archives from August 15 through November 10.  Contact the Archives at http://www.williamsoncounty-tn.gov/index.aspx?NID=26 or call 615-790-5462.

Spirit of ’45 Tribute

Placing a wreath on the Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Franklin at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 16, to remember those did not return from war.


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