Saturday, August 14, 2010

Today is the 65 Anniversary of V-J Day

Picture above was taken on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay as the Japanese sign the surrender documents ending World War II in front of General Douglas MacArthur.

Michael Bylen of the World War II Museum:
Most of us will greet this Saturday, as a welcome respite from the workweek.

But Aug. 14 should also be a day for remembrance. For it is the 65th anniversary of V-J Day -- the victory over Japan that, in 1945, concluded the Second World War, a conflict that claimed more human lives than any in history.

As word spread, people crowded city squares and plazas across the 48 states to celebrate. The shared relief and joy of that day was captured in an immortal photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in New York's Times Square -- of a sailor sweeping a young nurse into an exuberant embrace and kiss.

The nurse in the picture above died a few weeks ago in California at age 91.

Here is a recollection of Harold Schindler of what it was like on V J Day in Salt Lake City, Utah after the war:

And it was a celebration.

GIs on leave and in uniform were the center of attention. Soldiers, sailors, marines and pretty girls. . .snake-danced up and down Main from South Temple to Broadway.

And in the early evening, as I watched from the second-floor windows, I could see the Salt Lake City Police Department paddy wagon, the ``Black Maria,'' used to cart drunks to jail, trying to drive across Main at 200 South, but finally slowed to a halt in front of the Owl Drug under the Walker Bank Building on the southeast corner.

The officer, doggedly trying to do his duty, had a wagon full of inebriates.

And as I watched, I could see him being surrounded by a score of partying celebrants, chanting for the officer to join them. Before he knew it, a couple of soldiers had pulled his keys from his belt and opened the door to the police wagon.

Once the passengers were repatriated, so to speak, the revelers tossed the officer's keys into a U.S. mailbox nearby, leaving the patrol wagon stranded and empty.

The whooping and hollering went on well into the next morning.

The war was over

Also click on the title for a link to Michael Bylen's article

Lest we forget