“When everyone came together to rebuild and to unite and to get everything. There was such a spirit in the air and with the people that we do not have now,” says Bonnie O’Neill of Spirit of ’45.
O’Neill is talking about the time after August 14, 1945 when President Truman announced the end of World War II, and there was unity between people like never before. This is the goal of the non-profit organization Spirit of ’45. They are trying to unite people and unite veterans. O’Neill says there aren’t that many World War II veterans left, and they deserve to be honored. That’s why O’Neill and her husband have been traveling across the U.S, to help Keep the Spirt of ’45 alive.
“We have looked around at the different things in our country of things that have been changed by just one person, and there’s a lot of very important things in our country that have been changed by one person, so we’re just doing our part, that’s all,” says O’Neill.
Originally from Virginia, they have been traveling in a RV since February. They have traveled 20,000 miles and have been to 33 states. They hold a ceremony where they honor local veterans. As part of their tour, they came to Aroostook County where a ceremony was held at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Caribou.
“They haven’t gotten all the honor they should, and we just want to give them that honor they deserve,”
Two World War II veterans were present at the ceremony, Don Collins and Florence Kinney
“It is cold, it is windy, but nevertheless the honor is here and I am so honored to be here,” says World War II Veteran, Florence Kinney.
While this is the farthest north they will go, O’Neill says the trip is far from over. They will continue to honor veterans through 2016. The ceremony ended with the playing of taps by her husband.