With his 1998 book, “The Greatest Generation,” journalist Tom Brokaw coined a term to describe people who struggled during the Great Depression and survived World War II.
That term hasn’t been forgotten, and neither have the people of that era.
Henderson residents have created the Henderson Spirit of ’45 Day as a way to honor that time period.
“It’s a way to remember and pay tribute to America’s greatest generation,” said Dan Roberts, the executive director of Spirit of ’45 Nevada.
The event is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. April 16 at the Henderson Pavilion, 200 S. Green Valley Parkway.
Admission is free.
The Spirit of ’45 was a national nonprofit that started four years ago.
After discovering the organization, Roberts and members of Anthem-based “The Vegas Voices” decided to start a Nevada branch of the organization.
“No one knew about the national organization,” Roberts said. “We found out around Thanksgiving and got it off the ground around December last year.”
This event is the first of many, he said.
“This all leads up to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, which is August of 2015,” he added.
Dick Arendt, who is organizing the entertainment, said the group got a mixture of residents and local entertainers to perform everything from Frank Sinatra to renditions of The Andrews Sisters.
“It’s really going to be great,” he said.
To end the event, a member of “VEGAS! The Show” is slated to sing “God Bless America.”
“His performance is guaranteed to bring you to tears,” Arendt said. “It will definitely bring the house down.”
Roberts said the organization is planning to work with Henderson Libraries to collect oral histories from people during that time.
“About a month ago, we started asking around,” he said. “We talked to a gal who was 6 years old when the war ended. She remembers exactly where she was and what she was wearing the day her father came home from the war.”
Roberts said the event is also scheduled to have a 6-foot-tall statue of the famous “Kissing Sailor,” a photo that shows a sailor grabbing a nurse on the street, dipping her and kissing her in celebration of the end of the war.
“At 1 p.m., we are going to have a kiss-off,” Roberts said. “We will invite all the couples to re-create that kiss.”
Roberts hopes to have classic cars from the ’40s at the event.
He added the goal is to have nearly 1,500 people attend.
The organization’s next event is scheduled for May 10. It is still working on the details, but Roberts said it plans to honor the women of the generation.
Along with honoring people from that generation, Arendt said this is a great opportunity to educate people about the history.
“It’s important to show our grandchildren what the world was like back then,” he said. “It was a different time to be at war and not know the entire future. It’s a great history lesson.”
For more information, visit spiritof45nevada.org.
Contact Henderson View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201. Follow on Twitter @mjlyle.