Spirit of ’45 Day celebrates World War II vets

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SAN DIEGO – Hundreds of war veterans, military members and families gathered Sunday in Balboa Park for the annual Spirit of ’45 Day.

The event at the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center celebrated the U.S. victory over Japan and the end of World War II

Stu Hedley of Clairemont was a sailor on the U.S.S. West Virginia at Pearl Harbor.

“I told my buddy, ‘if I don’t get killed today – I’ll live to see the end of the war,’” said Hedley. “We could hear the machine gun bullets. We felt the thud of a torpedo hit the side of the ship and we saw the Arizona when she exploded.”

Spirit of ’45 Day events were held in hundreds of communities across the country. It’s a national day of remembrance for World War II vets and to share their stories.

“Too many World War II veterans are leaving us every day. We’re getting it out there so we can preserve the legacy of what was earned by their sacrifices – amazing stories too,” said Daniel DeMarco, the event chairman.