‘Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive’ commemorates WWII’s end
Clyde Meyers spent two hours in the House chambers of the Old State Capitol on Tuesday attending an event honoring the legacy of the World War II generation.
Meyers, 88, is part of that generation.
A U.S. Navy seaman stationed in the South Pacific on the USS Alhena, Meyers said he left Baton Rouge High School during his senior year to join the military and fight in the war.
Tuesday’s event, called “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive,” was held to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Meyers found himself Tuesday in the exact same place he was in 1945 when he was first told World War II was over.
“I was here, down in the basement. That’s where we used to drill,” said Meyers, who joined the Louisiana State Guard when he returned from the war.
“They called us up and told us to go to the basement. They told us the war was over. Then they had us go out to the traffic circle on Florida Boulevard to patrol,” Meyers said.
Guard members such as Meyers were sent to Florida Boulevard to make sure there was a sense of order in case people decided to “over celebrate” when learning news of the end of the war, Meyers said.
“People were sticking their heads out of cars and trucks yelling, ‘The war is over. Thank God. We won.’ It was something,” Meyers said.
The sense of celebration on that day in 1945 was something the Spirit of ’45 Alive event Tuesday was trying to salute, USS Kidd Veterans Memorial and Museum Director Maury Drummond said.
The event, put on by the USS Kidd, featured songs from the 1940s performed by the Baton Rouge Music Club Chorus.
In between the group singing songs such as “Sentimental Journey,” “In the Mood,” and “As Time Goes By,” guest speakers such as Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, and keynote speaker Mayor-President Kip Holden made brief remarks about “The Greatest Generation.”
Cassidy said the pride Americans feel for all veterans is not just patriotism but an intense “American Patriotism.”
Holden said when people think of the Spirit of ’45 generation, they should get “chill bumps.”
“Think of what we take for granted in this country. We live in the greatest country in the world but we don’t always treat it as the greatest country in the world,” Holden said.
Holden said people should thank veterans, honor them and never forget them.
“Thank you for taking the risk,” Holden told the audience that included almost a dozen or so World War II veterans.
Editor’s note: The story was changed on Aug. 15, 2012, to correct the spelling of the USS Alhena.