2017-07-20 / Top News

A tribute to the Greatest Generation

BY CINDY PIERCE


Barb Wilson (who was a real Rosie the Riveter during WWII), Rosie re-enactor Tracy Monique and WWII combat nurse Kate Nolen at the 2016 tribute breakfast. 
HEATHER CORACE / COURTESY PHOTO Barb Wilson (who was a real Rosie the Riveter during WWII), Rosie re-enactor Tracy Monique and WWII combat nurse Kate Nolen at the 2016 tribute breakfast. HEATHER CORACE / COURTESY PHOTO The Southwest Florida Veterans Alliance hosts the eighth annual Spirit of ’45 weekend tribute Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 12-13. Events include the Greatest Generation & Beyond breakfast and Taps Across America to honor the grandeur of a generation that preserved the United States’ founding principles of 1776 and those sentinels of liberty who followed in their footsteps.

The 2017 theme brings light to “Our Unsung Heroes: Chaplins & Corpsmen.”

The Greatest Generation & Beyond breakfast — “connecting the latest generation to the Greatest Generation to fight cultural amnesia,” as described by local historian and veterans advocate Lois Bolin — takes place from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 12, at the Hilton Naples. Before the program begins, guests will be able to enjoy the Oakes Victory Garden display and the “From Sea to Shinning Sea” mural, have photos taken in the Patriot Photo Booth and interact with various World War II character re-enactors to spark memories of a sentimental journey.


Above: The Northside Naples Kiwanis Club displays its garrison flag at last year’s Taps Across American ceremony on the beach at Lowdermilk Park. 
HEATHER CORACE / COURTESY PHOTOS Above: The Northside Naples Kiwanis Club displays its garrison flag at last year’s Taps Across American ceremony on the beach at Lowdermilk Park. HEATHER CORACE / COURTESY PHOTOS Veterans are asked to bring photos of themselves in their service days to scanned at the Vote in Honor of a Veteran booth sponsored by the Collier County Supervisor of Elections. The elections office collects and maintains photos and biographical information from retired and active veterans and their families for use in its efforts to educate local youth about the sacrifices veterans have made and continue to make so that Americans can live in freedom and exercise their right to vote.


Left: Veteran Bob McDonald will play his bugle during the Greatest Generation and Beyond breakfast. Left: Veteran Bob McDonald will play his bugle during the Greatest Generation and Beyond breakfast. The Greatest Generation & Beyond breakfast is free for veterans and their spouses. Seating is limited, however, and reservations are required. A wait list has been started for non-veterans who would like to attend; cost is $35.

Taps Across America

Since Congress proclaimed it in 2010, the second Sunday in August is the official day to remember the ending of WWII and the legacy and lessons of the generation who fought off the greatest tyranny the world had ever known. In Naples, the Taps Across America program starts at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, at Lowdermilk Park.

Guests will enjoy music from the Verona Walk Choir and the Naples Concert Band Bugler Corps. Young Marines will post the colors with Golden Gate High School JROTC cadets serving as guides to the beach, where members of the Northside Naples Kiwanis Club will unfurl their garrison flag as veterans walk to the Gulf to hand off the wreath to the Venture Crew Troop 25. The wreath will be ushered into the Gulf of Mexico for its proper release by Capt. Jim Albert and the U.S. Coast Guard as “Taps” is sounded from the beach.


Iwo Jima survivor and veteran U.S. Marine Pappy Wagner salutes for “Taps” as the wreath is delivered out into the Gulf of Mexico during last year’s Taps Across America ceremony. USAF veteran J.B. Holmes salutes in the background Iwo Jima survivor and veteran U.S. Marine Pappy Wagner salutes for “Taps” as the wreath is delivered out into the Gulf of Mexico during last year’s Taps Across America ceremony. USAF veteran J.B. Holmes salutes in the background Following the ceremony, guests will enjoy the traditional M&M’s ice cream social and Spirit of ’45 cookies from Sage Events Catering.

Taps Across America is free and open to the public with no reservations required. Some seating will be available, but guests are encouraged to bring chairs and/or blankets.


USCG veteran Chief William Carl waiting for the arrival of the boat to take the wreath out to sea at last year’s Taps Across America ceremony. USCG veteran Chief William Carl waiting for the arrival of the boat to take the wreath out to sea at last year’s Taps Across America ceremony. Main sponsors of the Spirit of ’45 weekend tribute are Arthrex and Avow. Table sponsorships are available, as are “Thank You for Our Freedom” program ads ($350 for a full page, $200 for a half page).

For breakfast reservations or more information about sponsorships and ads, call either the Southwest Florida Veterans Alliance at 594-2978 or Ms. Bolin at 777- 2281. ¦

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