WW II icon alive in ‘Spirit’

Photographer Alfred Eisenstadt’s photo of Edith Shain as a young nurse

Long Beach City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske made a promise to Edith Shain that she would do what she could to make certain that the city of Long Beach celebrated National Spirit of ’45 Day.

On Aug. 14, Schipske will keep her promise by sponsoring “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive Day” at the El Dorado Senior Center, 2800 N. Studebaker.

Shain was a nurse working at Doctors Hospital in New York City on Aug. 15, 1945—the day Japan surrendered during World War II. Shain said she rushed into the streets of Times Square to join in the impromptu celebration that followed the news.

Shain is the nurse being passionately embraced by a sailor in a photo shot by famed photographer Alfred Eisenstadt on that day.

“I met Edith when she came to the Queen Mary in 2008 to campaign for a permanent annual day that would ensure that her generation’s achievements could inspire a new generation of ordinary heroes to come together to face the complex issues and challenges America is struggling with today,”  said Schipske who has led the efforts to establish the Rosie the Riveter Park and Interpretive Center. “She was excited to hear what we were doing in Long Beach and I promised that we would include ‘spirit of ‘45’ in our efforts.”

In 2010, Congress designated the second Sunday in August as “Spirit of ’45 Day” to commemorate the end of WWII on Aug.  14, 1945 and many communities across the U.S. are holding ceremonies and events to mark this historic time.

Edith Shain passed away in June 2010.

The city of Long Beach events will include the placing of a memorial wreath at the military memorial in Rosie the Riveter Park and Interpretive Center located at Conant Street and Clark Avenue on Saturday, August 14, followed by a  4:30 to 7 p.m., 1940s Swing Dance and special appearance by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the El Dorado Community Center, 2800 N. Studebaker.

Music is provided by Johnny Kleker and the Big Band. Light refreshments will be provided. Suggested donation at the door: $10 for those born after 1945. Proceeds will go to the non-profit Long Beach Rosie the Riveter Foundation.