Clackamas, OR -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/05/2014 -- The Spirit of ‘45 Express Tour is making its way up the West Coast this week as part of the national tour to honor the men and women of America’s Greatest Generation. The Express will make several stops, including a visit to the State Capitol in Salem, before arriving at the Brigadier General James B. Thayer Military Museum in Clackamas on Thursday afternoon.
At the future site of the museum at Camp Withycombe, tour officials will meet with Brigadier General James B. Thayer to present him with the Spirit of '45 Day National Leaders Medal in recognition of his service to his country and community during and after WWII.
Brig. Gen. Thayer’s partial list of military honors includes the Silver Star; Bronze Star; Combat Infantry Badge; Oregon National Guard Exceptional Service Medal, and Oregon National Guard Distinguished Service Award.
Thayer’s civilian achievements are equally as impressive and numerous. Among the positions has as served are Civilian Aide to the United States Secretary of the Army; Director Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission; and Vice President, Association of the United States Army, Oregon.
Alisha Hamel, founder and executive director of the Historical Outreach Foundation, will join General Thayer at the Museum on Thursday. In partnership with the museum and the WWII Memorial Foundation, Hamel’s organization is committed to preserving and sharing the stories of American veterans.
“Oregon had approximately 152,000 who served in WWII,” said Hamel. “Over 3,700 service members were killed in action and around 24,000 WWII veterans are still living in Oregon today. We owe Brigadier General Thayer, and the thousands men and women, a tremendous debt of gratitude.”
The Historical Outreach Foundation is working closely with the foundation charged with creating the Oregon WWII Memorial in Salem, and will continue to administer the online and education components of the Memorial after the dedication this June.
Hamel believes that it is critical to “ensure that future generations will never forget the sacrifices made by those who served, and those who paid the ultimate price for their service to country.”
At the conclusion of the presentation to Gen. Thayer this Thursday, Bugler Auston O’Neill Jr. will play “Taps” for those assembled at the Museum. O’Neill, Jr., whose father was a decorated WWII veteran, performs at the National WWII Memorial each year on Spirit of ’45 Day. He is one of the 2,000 buglers participating in a round-the-world wreath laying ceremony scheduled to take place in August 2015 marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.
“We want to encourage families of the 16 million who served in uniform and the millions more who supported them on the Home Front, to take this opportunity to honor these ordinary heroes who did so much for our country and the world,” said O’Neill. “Their Spirit of courage, shared sacrifice and service to others must continue to inspire future generations of Americans.”
Barbara Jensen is Oregon’s Representative for the National Spirit of ’45 campaign.
“I am so pleased that Oregon honors the WWII Generation by Keeping the Spirit Alive in our communities so as to inspire our youth,” she said.
The 2010 Congress created the Spirit of 45 Day to honor the WWII generation. The day is observed on second Sunday in August, aligning with the anniversary of the end of WWII on August 14, 1945. Oregon passed its own version of Spirit of ’45 Day in 2013.
The Spirit of 45 Express tour began last month in Washington, DC, and will travel throughout the country during the next two years to promote events that are being planned to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in August 2015. For more information contact about the Spirit of ‘45 Express tour, contact National Coordinator, Warren Hegg at Warren@Spiritof45.org, (408) 857-5252.
About the Historical Outreach Foundation
The Historical Outreach Foundation honors the men and women who have served this state and nation in our armed forces, and provides a comprehensive educational resource for preserving and sharing Oregon's rich military history.
The HOF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, drives the funding for the new Brigadier General James B. Thayer Oregon Military Museum. Through several education-based initiatives including school presentations, the Oregon Military Museum and the Veterans Database Project, and in partnership with Oregon World War II Memorial, the Historical Outreach Foundation is charged with showcasing Oregon’s rich military history and making it accessible to everyone.
To support the Historical Outreach Foundation, please go to www.historicaloutreach.com.