August 15, 1945: The 75th Anniversary of V-J Day

On August 14, 1945, at 7:00 p.m., President Harry S. Truman summoned reporters to the White House for a special announcement. He read a statement from the Emperor of Japan which announced in part, “The unconditional surrender of Japan.” Three years, eight months, and seven days after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, WWII was finally over!

V-J Day (short for Victory in Japan Day) came at a steep price. The United States counted some 418,500 military and civilian deaths during the war. Worldwide, that number neared 60 million! For just a moment, in August 1945, a war-weary world set aside mourning to celebrate the end of WWII. People poured into the streets and church bells rang out. President Truman declared a two-day holiday, and on August 15th, the United States celebrated V-J Day.

In New York City, thousands flocked to Times Square. Alfred Eisenstaedt, a photographer for Life magazine, pulled out his camera to capture the exuberance of the crowd. His iconic shot of a sailor kissing a nurse captured a defining moment in history.

In Tinley Park, Illinois, Mildred Pritza recalled hearing the news, “We cried, we hugged. Bells were ringing. Everyone went outside and everyone was hugging…There was real cohesiveness in the nation with everyone working for a shared goal.” The country was united in spirit and purpose and V-J day was a celebration of shared sacrifice. Pritza, who had never worked before the war, recalled her job building crankshafts for airplanes for $1.09 an hour. With her husband in the Navy and a new baby to care for, she did what was necessary.

In Plainfield, New Jersey, police officer Cornelius Coffey was assigned traffic patrol and said the city had the worst traffic jam he’d ever seen as everyone came out to celebrate. He chose to ignore the 10 p.m. wartime curfew for youngsters that night.

News of the Japanese surrender came at 4:00 p.m. PST in Spokane, Washington. The Spokesman-Review reported that crowds spilled into the streets, and at first there was a stunned silence. “Then automobile horns began to blow. In a few moments, their blasts became a solid wave of sound in downtown streets. Their noise drowned out the shouting and even the noise of the siren atop city hall. A storm of confetti swirled down from windows of high buildings as office workers gave vent to their joy.”

On the island of Oahu, the bells in Kawaiahaʻo church pealed, bringing a flashback memory to many who heard the same bells ring out a warning on December 7, 1941. The roof of the Honolulu Advertiser building was crowded that December morning in 1941, as dazed and stricken citizens watched black smoke rise from the distance. Now 1,347 days later, the same rooftop was filled with people tossing shredded paper to the street below in celebration.

Do you remember V-J Day? Have you heard V-J Day stories shared in your family? To read more about the end of WWII and to see more stories on V-J Day, search today!

Share using:

Related Posts

88 thoughts on “August 15, 1945: The 75th Anniversary of V-J Day

  1. Born in 1947. As always I cannot thank the soldiers enough for all the wars fought for peace in the United States. My freedom came at a great expense. MANY, MANY THANK YOUS. P.S I will forever stand wi8th my hat off and my hand over my heart any time needed.

    1. My parents met at a VJ party. My father, returned from Europe after fighting Nazis in Europe, had orders to ship out to the Pacific until Japan surrendered. And the rest is history for me.

      1. My Father was still in Europe but stated they were preparing invasion of Japan. He landed in France in October of 44, was front lines in the Bulge.

        1. My father was in the Navy & was in the Mediterranean, but in March ’45 (right after my parents married) he went to the Pacific . He said the guys jumped for joy when they heard about the bombs being dropped! If not, many baby-boomers might not be here! Praise God for their valor!

    2. Amen! I will do the same anytime , anywhere! Your comments deserve a standing ovation, and a front page HEADLINE!!!

    3. My Mom has told me stories of listening to the radio announcement on Pearl Harbor Sunday. My dad served in the Army in the European theater and was a prisoner of war for 3 months. My grandparents, being Lithuanian, couldn’t read their sons letter to home so my (future) Mom read the letters for them. When my Dad came home my parents dated and married. I came along in 1947. I too am very grateful to all our service men and women for what they do for us.

  2. I was born in late 1942, so I have no real memory of V-J Day, except that my Uncle Al came home in his soldier’s uniform. I had no memory of ever meeting him before, but as we lived with my Aunt Henrietta, his wife, I know that the family was very joyous at his return. He & my Aunt bought their own house within a few months and my brother & I were still buying some kind of “defense stamps” for bonds at our Horace Mann elementary school. My older brother probably has more concrete memories than I.

    1. Born in July 1945 and heard lots of stories. Still have my parents’ration books. August 15 was my parents’ wedding anniversary so there were even more reasons to celebrate. My uncle served in the Army in Italy during World War II. My father served in France during World War I

      Thank you to all who served our country!

    2. I was 9 when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. I remember my dad and mom sitting by the radio, and the looks on their faces told me the gravity of the situation. Dad had a heart problem that kept him for enlisting so he transferred to the Department of the Army and helped state-side. We all did everything we could to help the war effort. And, yes, I remember V-J Day. I still get tears in my eyes. The tremendous loss of life. Those young men – many just boys – that gave their lives for us. And look at us now.Oh, that our troubled country could pull together like that again.

      1. AMEN, I was born in 1940 and I do remember some of the war! Like listening to Roosevelt on the radio and my neighbor bringing home a silk parachute that was split up among the neighbors and I had an
        Easter dress and hat made from it in 1943!

    3. I heard stories like yours from my Mom. Dad served in the Merchant Marines who were not liked. His ships delivered much needed supplies to the troops especially after D day. He was bombed on 3 ships. Not all the heroes carried guns.

  3. I was born in 1932 so I remember WW2 in detail. I didn’t really understand what was happening when Pearl Harbor was bombed but soon learned. In school “My Weekly Reader” gave details of the battles, school children bought War Bond stamps at .10 each and collected scrap metal for the war effort. Gold star flags were in some windows representing the loss of a family’s son or daughter. When V-J day came we all rejoiced and my big brother came home again. I wish I could see my country all pulling together for one purpose like that one more time.

    1. Although I am four years younger than you, I recall the pile of metal cans, etc. in the corner of my school yard as it was separate from the playground! Fats from cooking were also saved. Ration stamps were issued to families for various items – you might think people would have been extraordinarily honest in such times of stress but a grocery clerk who worked for my dad discovered that some of the customers thought they could get by pasting an outdated portion of a stamp for an often used item over a newer stamp for a seldom used item. All the clerks needed to do was to slide a fingernail over the stamps as presented! Later my dad enlisted in the navy as his draft number was coming up although he had 4 children, me being the oldest. We took a train from home to Chicago where my aunt lived so we could visit my dad at the Great Lakes Training Center – two of us at a time, then all four of us! On that trip my sister was barely 2 and I remember her with a butter cookie on each finger, standing in her seat saying ‘there goes my daddy!’ every time a sailor in his obvious service uniform walked through the train car – embarrassing as it may have been for my mother!

    2. Born in August of 1939, my memories of WWII are mostly of ration books and shortages of sugar, leather shoes. metal for pennies. My grandmother would save ration stamps for sugar until she had enough for one of her famous chocolate cakes. She and grandpa then went to the neighbors to share the cake and play cards, 500 I think. They talked about my uncles who had been drafted or volunteered to serve. Right now we need some of that same spirit of sacrifice and togetherness to get us through this corona virus crisis. I had Covid-19 and was lucky not to be hospitalized. PLEASE wear masks and stay safe to keep all your family and others safe!

  4. I was born in June1942. Several relatives served in the war. I definitely remember when they came home. One uncle saw the worst of the war while another was stationed in London re-packing parachutes. When the uncle returned from London he brought one of the now famous pictures of all the troops on the Queen Mary. I have that photo. All he wanted was to see his wife, but Ruth had packed her belongings and left that morning. She had lived with my grandmother since my uncle shipped out. She never explained and we never heard from her again. That day was both the happiest and saddest day I had ever experienced.

    1. That’s so heart-breaking. But as a
      Brit myself (now living in Canada) I
      THANK every American for what they did and the sacrifices they made for peace. Puts everything into perspective and needs to be recognized. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I was born in 1937, so all I knew was war.
    On VJ day we kids in the neighborhood
    walked the streets of our Charleston, SC
    neighborhood banging on tin pots and pans.
    What a happy day!

  6. Born in 1939, I have several Memories of World War Two. I had three uncles and two future brothers-in-law who served. We had a small flag with three stars hanging in our front window for my uncles. My mother had a small victory garden in our yard and I remember having to use ration stamps at the grocery store. On VJ Day, I remember cars blowing their horns and one of my friends running down the street yelling that his father was coming home and they were going to have a party.

    As a young Black boy, I had no idea that the military was totally segregated.

    Eugene Morris

    1. If these personal comments could be shown to the protestors of today’s world, would it make a difference to them?

      1. We could only hope that it would make a difference to the protesters. I have often wondered, if we were to go to war like that again would we have the same amount of patriotism and working for one cause or not? I am still unsure of the answer.

        1. One of our presidents ran to Canada to avoid the Vietnam Nam draft, then became Commander of Chief of our military! Where was his patriotism. Right or wrong, our involvement in Vietnam Nam was a fact and when America calls, we go!

          1. My father was a WW1 draftee, my brother was the same for WW2 and my husband was Korea. Yes, the country calls and we go! (At least we once did

          2. I’m really curious as to which President you are referring to. As far as I know, the only recent Presidents who found ways to avoid the Vietnam draft were Clinton and Trump. Clinton used a completely legitimate education deferment (like countless other students), and Trump’s father had enough money to buy statements from doctors claiming phony “bone spurs”. No one went to Canada, though MANY of us, myself included, considered it.

          3. None of our presidents ran to Canada to avoid Vietnam. Bill Clinton opposed the war, but got a high draft number 311; so was never called. Obama was too young; Bush was in the National Guard; and Trump got a phony medical excuse with his money.

    2. I applaud every one of you that has Served & Love This Country. Keep positive in these days. Stay safe & healthy and stand for OUR Country & Our Flag. This COUNTRY is what we make it. So love each other, who cares what color you are, there is ONLY 1 Race & that is the Human Race as what we all are. Peace, Love & stay Healthy to All.

      1. Well done ! Absolutely right.

        My motto has become
        “PEOPLE matter”
        nothing else need be said…..

    3. I send my respects and thankfulness to your uncles and relatives for their bravery and sacrifice for our country, despite the segregation and racism they faced.

  7. Born in 1939, I have several Memories of World War Two. I had three uncles and two future brothers-in-law who served. We had a small flag with three stars hanging in our front window for my uncles. My mother had a small victory garden in our yard and I remember having to use ration stamps at the grocery store. On VJ Day, I remember cars blowing their horns and one of my friends running down the street yelling that his father was coming home and they were going to have a party.

    As a young Black boy, I had no idea that the military was totally segregated.

    1. I was born in 1931 so I was too young to get into the military, but my friends and I kept up with all the war news, rationing, Etc. We used to watch the troop trains come through my home town in Wyoming, but I never knew the military was segregated either until I joined the Air Force in 1948.

  8. I was 3 1/2 when the war ended. My mom took me to the church and put me on the rope that rang the bells and I went up and down with the rope. I remember her telling me the war was over. My dad had a lot of points to come home early in late November 1945. I remember talking with him on a crank phone that hung on the wall at my grandparents. He had just gotten into New York on a Liberty Ship. He said, “I just sailed past the Statue of Liberty and she sure was a pretty site”.

  9. Mom was a Marine in WWII – “for the duration”. She was on leave in San Francisco when V-J day came. She and her girlfriends (fellow Marines) went out to celebrate, didn’t return home for 3 days. She had lost her uniform hat in the revelry, but came back with a sailor’s hat – after all, she couldn’t report back to Quantico without a hat!

  10. Van Buren. Maine on the Canadian border. People danced in the streets. Someone climbed a telephone pole to put a phonograph up there to play records or it could have been a radio to play music for the people flooding the streets. I was only 5 but I remember the commotion. This was on Main Street outside our IGA Store

  11. Born in early 1939, after crossing the intersection of Third St. and Grand Ave. in Sedalia, Missouri (President Truman’s home state), a friend told me WE had won the war! I was very happy, but had little idea of just how serious the war had been…except for the conservation programs in our town such as rationing, scrap-drives and talcum in cardboard containers instead of tin. I was overjoyed when Uncle Handy returned home and I first met him. He even gave me his sailor hat and pea coat!
    I got drafted in 1962 because of the missile crisis and spent most of my two years at Fort Hood Texas, which is South of Dallas where President Kennedy’s death plunged our great country into shock and gloom!
    Have studied world history ever since. And I remain very proud that the United States has provided so much valiant service to people world-wide. I’ll be really glad when contention s finally end.

  12. I was four years old on VJ Day and have a vivid memory of all the people in the neighborhood out on their porch and in the front yards shouting and yelling their joy to each other. My mom tied a bunch of tin cans to my tricycle so I could make noise too as I rode up and down the sidewalk in Dayton, Ohio.

  13. I was born two months before Pearl Harbor. When the war ended I was not quite 4 years old. We were living in Manhattan (New York City) on E. 92nd St. between Lexington and Third Aves. I remember my mother taking me to Riverside Park on the Hudson River. I remember the the river being full of ships from the George Washington Bridge to as far as I could see towards the harbor entrance. It is a very vivid memory enhanced by time.

  14. Born in July 1940, all my early memories are all of the War. My dad was an Los Angeles Police Officer, and that automatically made him the Civil Defense Block blackout enforcer. He had to make sure no light was shining through home windows. All my uncles were in service, my mother’s brother Oscar Hughes was kill in action crossing the Rhine River into Germany in March 1945. I remember all the scrap drives when we collected metal, paper, and even fat. We all had Victory Gardens and up and down the street people raise chickens and rabbits to supplement our meals.
    We were all proud Americans who really appreciated all our friends and family who served in the military. We shared in the grief of all the families of the 405,000 men and women who perished in the war. It was a different country then, and I hope and pray it does not take another disaster like WWII to bring this country together again.

    1. Well said.
      If only the protesters and those who have/are disrespecting the flag knew what we went through, both over seas and at home.
      They all have it too easy.

  15. We were living in Newport, RI, because my Dad was in the Navy and had been sent to Okinowa, Japan. On my sixth birthday, the 14th of August 1945, I wished on my birthday cake before blowing out the candles, “that the war would be over and Daddy could come home”. Within 15 minutes, sirens were blaring in this Navy town. The Japanese had surrendered! My mother piled her four kids, ages 2 to 7, in our Ford convertible, and we rode around town celebrating with most of the other residents of Newport! I’ve often wondered if my birthday wish was the magic to make this happen…and do I really have that much power? And, by the way, Daddy didn’t come home until December.

    1. My dad too was Navy and in Okinawa in 1945. He was aboard the USS Snowbell AN52 when Typhoon Louise struck 9 October 1945. His ship was severely damaged, decommissioned and hulk blown-up in Jan. 1946. He returned to States in early December and was discharged 10 December 1945. My mother must have been elated at his return for they too had four children, the oldest would be 6 in May 1946.
      Teddy (Gray) Brock

  16. I was born at 7:05 on August 14,1945! Years later my Mother would tell me that everyone was cheering outside her hospital window in Kenosha, WI, because I was born!! My Father was in the Army Air Corps at the time.

    1. Hello, my dad was in the Army Air Corp, stationed in Saipan, in 1945… I’m waiting for his military records but glad to hear any stories. This is a great thread.

    2. Me too, but I was born in the morning. It was a god thing, because my Dad had trouble getting back to the hospital that evening because of the celebrating! Happy Birthday!

  17. I was 9 years old and pushing my bike up a hill at the south tracks in Billings, Montana one afternoon when I heard all of the city’s horns, bells and whistles blasting for several minutes. When I got home, I asked my Mom what was all the noise about, and she said, The war’s over!” And in my childish innocence I asked her, “For how long?”
    Bob Webster Pleasant Grove, Utah.

    1. The sad truth is the war was only over for less than five years. Our young men and women then were called to save Korea.

  18. My father served on the USS San Diego CL53 during WWII…. they were in Tokyo at the end of the war!!!
    Thank you to all the brave people who serve in the military

  19. I was born in April, 1946. My parents married July, 1945 and were in Times Square in a hotel overlooking the joyousness! Dad served in the Navy on P.T. Boat 307 and was headed back to the boat to go back to sea when the end of the War was announced.

  20. My parents met in England during WW 2. He was an American GI, she worked in the Rolls Royce factory where the Spitfire engines were built. They married in England on 8-15-1945, VE Day. She was 17 years old. They soon moved back to the USA.

  21. I was performing a mime act at farmers market in Allentown and was bood off the stage then heard war was over

  22. I was taking a bath in the big tin cow feed bucket and Grandma was scrubbing my back when my sister Maryellen comes flying down the mountain yelling ‘the wars over!” ‘The wars over!” Ma quickly came out of the house to see what all the ruckus is about and right behind her comes my aunt Millie running out with her tail between her legs. What a day that was!!

    1. You are an idiot. If you saw The Waltons at all you would know that Jim Bob served in the Army Air Corps in WW2.

      1. You are right. I loved the Waltons, but I thought this thread was about real, life and death war.

    2. You might have been taking a bath at the time, but it wouldn’t have been in a tin cowfeed bucket unless you were standing in it, which I doubt. Maybe a Number 3 wash tub, but I doubt that as well. The Walton’s had indoor plumbing. The only reason for taking a bath outdoors is if you had had a run-in with a skunk. Grandma couldn’t have scrubbed your back, because she had had a stroke. Mary Ellen was a nurse in a hospital in Charlottesville. There was no Aunt Millie, the dog’s name was Reckless. It is obvious you have never seen the Waltons, first run or even in re-runs.

  23. I was born in 1939. Remember that all the neighbors poured into our little street in Kirkwood, Missouri. It turned into what would now be called a “block party.”

  24. I became very emotional reading the memories so many people shared about
    v-j day. I praise God for that day.
    I sincerely want every person in the world to become a part of God’s family so we can share eternity together.
    Please ask God to come into your heart and search for a bible believing church so we all will be together after our time has ended on this earth.
    In Jesus name, Amen

  25. My dad knew the war had ended the morning he and his fellow prisoners of war in Japan got up and discovered all the guards had deserted the camp In the night for fear of retribution.

  26. My father wrote letters often to his girlfriend, my mother, while he was in the Army Air Corp. These two letters were written on 8/14/1945 from his base on Adak, Aleutian Islands, Alaska; considered foreign service since Alaska was not admitted to the U.S. until 1959. His girlfriend was stationed in Washington, D.C.. She enlisted in the Navy WAVES at age 20, and helped with the Pacific Theatre de-coding of Japanese messages which significantly helped to shorten the war.
    Letter #1 on 8/14/1945
    “Dearest Elaine, The war is over! Japan has surrendered. Thank God! The one wait has come to a close, the time left before we return will amount to almost nothing. As we have said amongst each other here, ‘We got it made.’ Over the radio for the past eighteen hours has come the first hand account of the celebrations going on back in the states. Everyone seems to be having a wonderful time. It was around one this afternoon when the armed forces radio confirmed the surrender. I can tell you, it was some time before anyone spoke, and when they did it was Ewalt who stuck out his hand and congratulated me on making thru the second world war. After that we all went in and had a cup of coffee. Still not quite sure that it’s over. After I had rolled it over in my head for a while, I felt relaxed for the first time in a very long while. It’s over, and I pray God that the world will not soon forget these past four years.”
    Letter #2 on 8/14/1945
    “Heavenly day.!, I still can’t believe it. Only now am I beginning to realize what it all means. Three and a half years I have been away from home and you, now we all will be coming home, to stay. Where the word ‘date’ means something more than just the day of the year, and one has only to respect those who are worthy of that respect. Where each is equal with the other, and life becomes personal and not just another number. Where you can once again become a part of something designed to construct and not a part of a force whose intent is to destroy. Where the bathroom is in the same building as the bedroom, and the kids yell out on the street, of streets themselves. Where the sun shines, and the wind isn’t apt to blow at a hundred miles an hour. And to stop living, eating and sleeping aviation. To listen for a change and stop talking, instructing. That’s a lot to come home to, but most of all I want to be where you are . . .”
    My father was born in 1921 and died in 1986. My mother was born in 1924 and died in 2019.

  27. Born in ’38, I do recall the war trauma…flags in windows, collecting tin foil, flimsy air mail letters from overseas, USO canteens and the horrible telegrams notifying next of kin. On VJ day my Dad and brother bounced me on a bed as though it were a trampoline. It sickens me today to see the flag being dishonored…just as it did in the early 60’s. In the 40’s, schools educated rather than indoctrinated and the media unified rather than divided. How lucky we were…

    1. many of us are upset with the way things are today,, we cannot forget those sacrifices,

  28. i was born dec 6 1941,, day before pearl harbor,, my father enlisted,, my mother and i moved in with my grandmother and grandfather,, when i was 20 months old (aug 1 1943) the state police came to my grandfathers with the fateful telegram,, i can still remember my mother crying,, im 78 now,, and cannot the sacrifice my father gave,, it still hurts !!

  29. I was born 10 days before the war ended but I remember hearing stories of it. I wish the protesters and all those who are doing the destruction in our country today could sit down with a few veterans and learn what they went through to keep our country safe. One of my brothers-in-law and my oldest brother served in Korea . My husband lied about his age and joined the army at age 15. The war ended before he got to serve in the field but he was willing enough to go that he lied about his age. One of our sons served in Afghanistan even though he had a wife and four sons at home. I am so glad for those who choose to fight for our rights to be a free country. Those who gave their all would turn over in their graves to see what has happened to their country. We should all fight against Socialism so that we can remain free. No taking from one who has worked hard for what he has and giving it to one who will not work.

  30. I was born in the morning of Aug 14th! My folks always teased that when I was born the Japanese knew they were done for! It was a good thing I was born in the morning, because my Dad had trouble getting back to the hospital in Danville IL because of the celebrating in the streets.

  31. We were such a patriotic nation during WW2!! I only wish our country could be as loving and helpful today. I recall the kids who lived on the outlying farms bringing gunny sacks full of milk weed pods on the school bus. The silk in the pods was gathered to be used to make parachutes. An army tank on main street was there so we could see what our bonds would help to buy. We would take our dimes to school to buy savings stamps. There was a big outline of an airplane in the school and it was colored in according to how many savings stamps or bonds we had purchased toward buying that plane. I recall the drone of the fleet of slow flying bombers that often flew over on their way to the air force base close by. I remember thinking that since the war had ended there would be no need for news broadcasts anymore,

  32. I was born on the day Corregidor fell to the Japanese, so was only 3 on VJ Day. My parents and two of their friends had pooled their gas ration coupons to be able to drive in one car to Goose Rocks Beach (part of Kennebunkport, which nobody had heard of back then) on the Maine coast for a vacation at the family’s cottage. I remember watching a parade along the main street that day. My father was too old to serve, but his younger brother was in the Navy.

  33. My brother joined the Navy in February of 1941, mother had to sign for him as he was only 17. He shipped out of Pearl Harbor in November, being transferred to the Destroyer USS Pope. He was known as “the baby of the Pope”. The Pope was sunk in the Java Straits in March of 1942 and he was taken prisoner by the Japanese. Held in the Celebes (sp?) Islands until August of 1945. Of course mother received the dreaded telegram from the War Dept., but she never gave up hope that he was alive. And that hope was realized when she started receiving cards and letters from all over the US from Ham Radio operators. They had received messages from prisoners of war, stating that they were alive and hoped to be home soon. One such prisoner was my brother. I have copies of all of those cards and letters. Some were simply addressed “To the family of Billy Smith” Shawnee, Okla. The originals I have given to my brother’s daughter. I was 2 years old when he came home. I remember quite clearly the day he arrived, although I must admit that I didn’t quite understand what all the fuss was about. He made the Navy a career, retiring in the late 1960’s.

  34. My sister and I may very well be alive today because of the bombs that were dropped on Japan, forcing them to surrender. Our father was a B24 tail gunner in the Jolly Rogers Bomb Group in the South Pacific, and would have most likely been assigned to fly and fight in the skies over Japan. Dad’s crew flew a reconnaissance over Nagasaki after it was bombed ( We owe that generation everything for our freedom and for what we have been able to enjoy for the past 75 years.

    1. Dear David Ray Skinner;
      I am grateful your dad survived the war which he helped win and grateful for you and your songs which tell his amazing story. Wish I had a hard copy of the tailgunner booklet.

  35. My mother and I were on our way to meet my aunt & uncle in a small town in Indiana where my uncle was working. I was 8 years old and we had taken the train from near Buffalo, NY to Indianapolis and were to take a bus to central Indiana where they were living at that time. We arrived in Indianapolis on August 15th and everything in the city stopped working to celebrate. No trains, buses or anything to anywhere! There was a woman on the ledge of a tall hotel in her underwear tearing up phone books and newspapers and throwing them to the crowd in the street below. My mother said that she thought we should go to the Episcopal Christ Church Cathedral near us downtown. As we finished praying, but still kneeling, I looked up to my mother and, in a loud child’s voice said “what should we pray for now that the war is over Mommy?” Everyone in the church broke out laughing. A young sailor, stranded just as we were, took us to an amusement park for a day while we waited for my uncle who was finally was able to drive into the city and pick us up 3 days later!

  36. In 1945 on VJ day I was in Elementary School and I remember they brought a Real Army Jeep to our school and we all got rides in this jeep, It was a great day for an 11 year old.

  37. Born 1931 … well remember the war years and all said above. Well remember the sadness felt on my paper route, seeing a blue star in a window exchanged for gold. Recall the joy of a banana cream pie … bananas were scarce as were so many things. Still have a few of the blue and red rationing tokens. Knit many a square for the Red Cross afghans and sent off ditty bags we Girl Scouts put together. The joy of VE Day and VJ Day etched to memory. My birthday, August 22, my Dad brought me a puppy a few days prior, and life took on a welcomed happiness not felt for what seemed a long, long time. It was time for high school, a time for stepping into a whole new world, a world I thought had finally found love and peace.

  38. Although I wasn’t born until 1952, much of my childhood was devoted to Dad’s war stories. He wanted to become a pilot, to which his father said “Absolutely not.” Finally, my grandfather relented and gave permission for his son to enter the U.S. Coast Guard, where he assumed that my father would just putt-putt-putt up and down the Bay. During war time, however, the U.S.C.G. fell under the auspices of the U.S. Navy, so Dad wound up on a sub chaser in the North Atlantic, later shipped to Guam where he helped make the LORAN (long range navigation) charts for the B-29’s. Before Guam, though, his ship was docked in San Francisco, where a shipmate talked him into going to a dance in Rio Nido, a resort on the Russian River. When Dad’s friend saw him staring at my mother, he said, “What’s wrong with you? We’re here to have a good time. That’s the kind of girl you marry.” All Dad said was, “I’ll see you later.” He danced with Mom one time, got gum in her hair, thought she would never speak to him again, only to watch her cancel everything on her dance card in order to spend the rest of the night with this red-headed sailor that she had an affinity for. Five days later, they were married, but with the express permission of the ship’s Captain. One year later, it was VJ Day. Due to the military point system, Dad was able to board the ship in port on Guam. That ship stopped at every island nearby, trying to get everyone home. When the Marines boarded from Peleliu, Dad described in a letter to me years later how “hollow” their facial expressions were, to the point where he often wondered if they would ever be able to acclimate themselves back into civilian life after everything they experienced fighting the Japanese. In describing this land mass, he said that there was nothing left standing except a black, charred island. Dad didn’t get back to San Francisco until November, 3 months later, where my mother had to bring him his “dress blues” that he had already shipped home, before he was allowed to leave the dock. Even though the war was over, all military personnel had to remain in uniform until they were officially discharged from the service. My parents stayed in California until January, 1946 when they arrived back East by train. My Uncle was an Army officer stationed in India, so it took him even longer to get back home. Dad answered the door when his brother-in-law arrived, so he told his sister (my Aunt who was washing her hair) to come downstairs immediately. She hurriedly wrapped her wet hair in the towel, only to burst into tears when she saw her husband. My grandparents had themselves, along with their son and new daughter-in-law, and their daughter and son-in-law all living in a small house with three tiny bedrooms and ONE bathroom. They didn’t care because everyone was home safe. How grateful I am for these family stories.

  39. I was born in June ’47. Two uncles served and both survived. My wife lost an Uncle on Iwo Jima. Both her parents were in the Navy. She was a Wave, doing accounting in Pensacola, Fl. He was a flight instructed there.My Dad was a machinist in an ammunition plant in Portland, OR. I’m very proud of them all and thanks to them have had a wonderful life.

Comments are closed.