VJ Day: Victory Over Japan Day Still Celebrated in New England
Victory Over Japan Day, VJ Day, is still celebrated in some towns in the US after 64 years. On August 15, 1945 (August 14 in America), the emperor declared surrender to US President Harry Truman. The iconic photo of a sailor kissing a girl in Time Square was taken on that day.
The name "Victory over Japan Day" would no doubt make Japanese-American uncomfortable, but in reality it is more about remembering the lives that were lost in wars. It is interesting that only the end of WWII was celebrated, not the Civil War, WWI, Vietnam War, Gulf War. Perhaps it is the one war that US fought in unity and came to a startling realization of the destructive power of modern weapons, namely the atomic bomb.
Donald Guay, a veteran, said:
I feel bad for (the Japanese). We had to drop the bomb over there and now ...
Even veterans who fought Japanese celebrate the day to honor their fellow servicemembers.
"I've got nothing against the Japanese people," says Plantz, 89. "If I could get a hold of some of the people who beat me, I'd have something against them. But (the Japanese) have been maybe the best postwar allies we've had."
In Japan, the day is known as Shuusen-kinenbi, which translates to the "memorial day for the end of the war", and the official name is "the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace."