MARION, Va. - It's a day to say thank you and celebrate the many men and women who served during World War II. It's the national 'Spirit of 45 day,' observed on the second Sunday in August.
They're known as the 'Greatest Generation,' those who lived and served during World War II. Around the country Sunday, the 'Greatest Generations' sacrifice in World War II was honored.
J.D. Baldwin lives in Smyth County and is a World War II Army vet. He spent two years in the Pacific. "There were good days and bad days. Good times and bad times," adds Baldwin.
Despite those bad times, he appreciates the people in Marion for thanking him on this special day.
"You know, it's not just a county thing. Not a town thing. This is all over," says Baldwin.
In 2010, Congress unanimously passed Concurrent Resolution 226, calling for the 'Spirit of 45 day.' A day that only happens with support from local communities. Marion Mayor David Helms says it's a day important to the whole town.
"When they came back from the war, they came back with a vengeance to make this country strong again and they were successful after World War II... they really were," adds Helms.
As for Mr. Baldwin, he's thankful for the opportunity to fight for this country. "There's times that you don't enjoy being there really, but we all had a job to do," adds Baldwin.
A job that made him appreciate the finer things. "[Like] coming home. Those were the best," says Baldwin.
Marion's participation in the 'Spirit of 45 day' began in 2010. That year they were the only community in Virginia to celebrate.