V-J Day (or Victory over Japan Day) marked the end of World War II. The official announcement of Japan’s surrender was August 14, 1945, while the formal surrender ceremony occurred on board the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945 in Tokyo Bay (see above image). V-J day is also known as Victory in the Pacific Day (V-P Day).
Although September 2 is the designated V-J Day in the entire United States, the event is recognized as an official holiday only in Rhode Island where the August 14 holiday’s official name is “Victory Day.”
According to the Woonsocket Patch:
“V-J Day was a nationally recognized holiday, but it has since been removed because of the nature of the war’s ending, following the dropping of the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. Rhode Island retains the holiday in tribute to the number of sailors it lost in the Pacific front.”
The Woonsocket Patch also notes that the iconic sailor in Times Square who famously kissed the nurse on August 14, 1945 was Rhode Island native George Mendonsa.
On the Missouri, the surrender document was signed by Japan’s Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff. General Douglas MacArthur (and other Allied military commanders) signed the agreement on behalf of the Allies.
Widespread rejoicing occurred all over the country and the world with the announcement of the end of World War II.
Richard Sullivan found the following footage shot in Honolulu, Hawaii by his father on August 14, 1945 and restored it to the tune of “I’ll Be Seeing You” sung by Jimmy Durante. Sullivan states:
“67 Years Ago my Dad shot this film along Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki capturing spontaneous celebrations that broke out upon first hearing news of the Japanese surrender.”
Do you think the historical significance of V-J Day, whether commemorated on August 14 or September 2, is being overlooked in America?