Looking back on the Spirit of ‘45
By CAF Colonel Tim Black
The CAF Centex Wing Spirit of ’45 event on Aug. 15 will go down as one of the finest events the Central Texas Wing has ever hosted. Part of the event were the Devil Dog Squadron and Highland Lakes Wing. More than 1,000 people attended the all-day event which included a car show, history flights, museum tours, business booths, flyover and a ceremony honoring the veterans.
The flyover that the Wing performed consisted of eight warbirds flying over the Texas State Capitol, University of Texas, Camp Mabry, Lady Bird Lake, Randolph AFB, Stinson Field, Lackland/Kelly AFB, the Alamo and Ft. Sam Houston. This flight encompassed the cities of Austin, Buda, Kyle, San Marcos, New Braunfels and San Antonio. At the ceremony 21 World War II veterans and two original Rosie the Riveters with medallions which had “Thanks for your service, Greatest Generation” inscribed on the reverse side of a bronze medallion with the American flag on the front with a red, white and blue ribbon.
Many comments and thanks from family members, as well as veterans, regarding how much they appreciated the presentation. One family member remarked that her relative, a World War II veteran, had never been publicly acknowledged for his service.
The following are comments that the Centex Wing has received after the event:
“I just HAPPENED to be standing outside in downtown San Antonio when the formation went overhead. OUTSTANDING! My co-workers were in awe at the sound.”
“It was a damn fine day. Teared me up a couple of times when I was talking to the gentleman we honored. We really made their day.”
“The ceremony was very, very touching. I admit I was a bit misty while each vet was honored and made to feel special. The CAF and its message always makes this city proud. The work all the volunteers did was professional and friendly. What a pleasure it was to be there.”
“Bill Bahr could not stop saying thank you all the way home for making him and all the Vets feel so special. His only regret was his family could not see it because they are spread out across the U.S. We took him out for dinner when after the ceremony and he was still wearing his hat and medallion. Folks in the restaurant were stopping to shake his hand and thank him for his service. What a great way to end his day.”
“You may be proud of the CENTEX Wing, but it is I who am proud to have been a part of the fantastic, spectacularly, designed, planned, and executed Spirit of '45.
The enthusiasm of the huge crowd was catching. I was proud to welcome so many appreciative visitors and to help them get to know the CAF and the CENTEX Wing. As one father said to me, "This is like finding a jewel in our own back yard. We'll be back."