Published: Aug 15, 2011 3:52 AM EDT

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. - Communities from all over the country took Sunday to celebrate, and honor veterans from one of the most important wars in American history.

Dozens of WWII veterans gathered on Fort Myers Beach Sunday for a celebration in their honor, as part of the National Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive campaign.

Local veteran Ret. Sgt. James R. Matlack was awarded the Bronze star, the 4th highest combat award in the armed forces, for his service during WWII.

Congress voted to set aside the 2nd Sunday in August to remember those of the Greatest Generation.

Sunday's event was 66 years to the day President Truman announced the end of World War II.