Councilmember Gerrie Schipske met former nurse Edith Shain during the original planning meetings for National Spirit of ‘45 Day held on the Queen Mary on August 14, 2008. It was then that Councilmember Schipske made a promise that she would do what she could to make certain that Long Beach celebrated National Spirit of ‘45 Day. On Aug. 14, Schipske keeps her promise by sponsoring “Keep the Spirit of ‘45 Alive Day” at the El Dorado Senior Center, 2800 N. Studebaker.
Shain was a nurse working at Doctors Hospital in New York City when the Japanese surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, signaling the end of WWII. Shain told Schipske that she rushed into the streets of Times Square to join in the impromptu celebration that followed the news. Shain said she was the woman in the notorious photo of a sailor passionately embracing a nurse.
“I met Edith when she came to the Queen Mary in 2008 to campaign for a permanent annual day that would ensure that her generation’s achievements could inspire a new generation of ordinary heroes to come together to face the complex issues and challenges America is struggling with today,” explains Schipske, who led the efforts to establish the Long Beach Rosie the Riveter Park and Interpretive Center. “She was excited to hear what we were doing in Long Beach and I promised that we would include Spirit of ‘45 Day in our efforts.”
In 2010, Congress designated the second Sunday in August as Spirit of ‘45 Day to commemorate the end of WWII on Aug. 14, 1945, and many communities across the US now hold ceremonies and events to mark this historic time. Edith Shain passed away in June 2010.
On Saturday, Aug. 14, the Spirit of ‘45 Day will begin with the placing of a memorial wreath at the military memorial in Rosie the Riveter Park and Interpretive Center, intersection of Conant Street and Clark Avenue. From 4:30-7pm there will be a 1940s Swing Dance with music provided by Johnny Kleker and the Big Band, followed by a special appearance by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the El Dorado Community Center, 2800 N. Studebaker Rd.
Suggested donation at the door is $10 for those born after 1945. Proceeds will go to the non-profit Long Beach Rosie the Riveter Foundation.