By Kristina Houck
Although World War II ended 69 years ago, veterans remember the day the war ended like it was yesterday.
Hundreds of veterans, military members and other San Diegans gathered Aug. 10 in Balboa Park to celebrate the victory and remember the sacrifices during the annual Spirit of ’45 Day, which coincides with the anniversary of the U.S. victory over Japan, or V-J Day.
Pete Glaser of Del Mar was among the dozens of WWII veterans who attended the event.
Glaser was drafted into the military in 1944, shortly after he turned 18. Originally based in Honolulu, he served as an electronic technician in the Navy, also working on a ship off the coast of the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan during his three years in the military.
“It was great,” said Glaser about the event. “There were a lot of old veterans and young military who participated.”
Various city officials, including San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, and former Mayor Jerry Sanders introduced Glaser and his fellow veterans during the Balboa Park event. Although Congress unanimously approved Spirit of ’45 Day as a new National Day of Remembrance in 2010, Glaser said it was his first time participating in an event that marked the occasion.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” he said.
After the war, Glaser went to college and then worked in the computer industry for about 45 years.
Born on the East Coast, Glaser grew up in Los Angeles. He moved to Del Mar nearly 30 years ago, where he has been active in the community ever since. He helped re-launch the Del Mar Television Foundation in 1999. He is also a volunteer with the Friends of the Del Mar Library, Del Mar Historical Society and Del Mar Community Connections.
About two years ago, Glaser had the opportunity to visit the national memorial built to honor him and his fellow veterans.
He was among dozens of other WWII veterans who traveled to Washington, D.C., to visit the WWII Memorial and other war memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice. The all-expense paid trip was made possible by Honor Flight San Diego, a nonprofit that honors America’s veterans by helping them visit their memorials on the other side of the country.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Glaser said.
Honor Flight also arranged for WWII veterans to attend the Spirit of ’45 Day event.
“I just wanted to support them because it’s a really good organization,” he added.
For more about Honor Flight San Diego, visit