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Keep the Spirit of ‘45 Alive” Launches In San Diego

The memory of the celebration at the end of World War II is evoked by a statue on San Diego Bay of a woman being kissed by a sailor in Times Square. That woman was in town to help launch a campaign to “Keep the Spirit of ‘45 Alive.”

The lower deck of the USS Midway, now a floating museum in San Diego Bay, was filled with veterans and young recruits. This year is the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II, and there’s a campaign underway to honor the memories of that generation before they’re gone.

Edith Shain, the nurse in the statue of the photo of the Times Square kiss, arrived dressed on the Midway in her white nurse’s uniform, and spoke about her memory of that moment.

“What was I thinking while he was kissing me?” she mused, in answer to a question, “I was grateful - not that he was kissing me! I was grateful, not only that he fought in this war, but that he came back with his libido intact.”

The audience laughed, and Shain went on to say that as soon as the kiss was over she turned away, and never saw the sailor again.

Warren Hegg is the national coordinator of the campaign. He suggests young people offer to collect the memories of their older relatives or friends who were in World War II, and post them on the campaign’s Web site.

“We are proposing that there be a day of remembrance in honor of this generation,” Hegg said, “but it’s also an opportunity to pass the torch to a new generation that are going to be facing major challenges in their own lifetimes.”

San Diego Congressman Bob Filner is proposing legislation to make the second Sunday in every August a national day of remembrance.

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