SWFL VETERANS ALLIANCE Connecting the dots

LIN Flag used with Lois article


by Lois Bolin
Old Naples Historian

Last month we celebrated America’s Independence Day. The Declaration of Independence, written a century and a half after the colony of Virginia was first established in 1607, gave several  generations of Colonists a taste of freedom – freedom that was threatened with new British laws and taxes. Yet, the “sacred fire of liberty”, seared into their souls, launched an advanced theoretical case for a revolution, the idea of national sovereignty, and a declaration of independence for the 13 British colonies.


The U.S. Constitution, the oldest written constitution in operation in the world, was adopted on September 25, 1789, and by 1790, the original 13 colonies were called the United States.


It is the 75th anniversary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms Speech,” which outline the essential human freedoms: freedom of speech and expression; freedom to worship God in our own way; freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Four and half years later, on August 14, 1945, when Truman announced that WWII was over, Americans rejoiced knowing those freedoms were intact. Americans also knew that the bedrock values that formed the basis of the American Experiment had been preserved. Two hundred and forty years after the Declaration of Independence and two hundred and twenty-nine years after the Constitution was ratified, Naples Spirit of ’45 will again honor these sentinels of liberty with our weekend tribute called the Greatest Generation & Beyond
Breakfast and Taps Across America.


On August 13th, at the Naples Hilton some 320 plus veterans, sponsors and volunteers come together for a morning to acknowledge a generation who survived the Great Depression, defeated the greatest tyranny the world has ever known then rebuilt a shattered world at home and in the lands of their former enemies. These veterans will be greeted by our newest collaborator,  Thank You Across America, a 70 foot patriotic bus by Rolling Thunder Chapter Five. Patriot Guard Riders
will stand at attention as our guests are greeted then escorted to their seats by Boy Scouts, who will also serve them breakfast.
Along the way will be the Supervisor of Election’s booth, Vote in Honor of a Veteran, the 16 foot Patriot Wall by Melinda Clark and pause for photos with Lady Liberty, Patton and Churchill. The program will feature our MC, Rick LaCosta, USAF Veterans and COO of Physicians Regional Healthcare Systems, along with soloists Steve Smith and Sandra Rommel. After the group photo, they are off to retrieve their Oakes Farm Victory Garden bag.

This year’s theme, And Beyond, pays tribute to those Patriots who stood on the shoulder of these giants and accepted the gauntlet to sustain the bedrock values that formed the basis of the American Experiment. On August 14th (the 2nd Sunday), the official National day to honor the ending of WWII, the 7th Annual Taps Across America at Lowdermilk will continue with its traditional sunset ceremony and M & M Café’s Ice Cream Social.

This past February, SWFL Veterans Alliance, Inc. 501(c) (3), was formed to continue the Naples Spirit of ’45 weekend, which benefits the Peter Thomas History Fund. The fund pays for local student’s transportation to participate in the state’s Florida History Day competition. As George Washington said, “A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?” We concur.

One of the bedrock values of SWFL Veterans Alliance is our philosophy of community, collaboration and connectivity. We collaborate with a host of organization who share a similar mission. In 2013, we introduced fifty WWII veterans into the first Collier Honor Flight and this year, we will introduce Thank You Across America (TYAA) to Florida’s WWII Heritage, who will travel through Florida’s eight regions spreading the Spirit of ’45
along the way.

SWFL Veterans Alliance is proud to work these groups to connect the dots of 1776 to 1945 to today’s War on Terror because the “preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government, is entrusted…” into all of our hands.
“…freedom of speech and expression; freedom to worship God in our own way; freedom from want, and freedom from fear.”



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