V-J Day commemorates the anniversary of Japan's surrender to the Allies in 1945, ending World War II. The atomic bombs dropped on HIROSHIMA on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 9, and the Soviet Union's invasion of Manchuria in the previous week made the surrender inevitable. The announcement of the surrender by President Harry S. Truman set off street celebrations from coast to coast in the United States. In New York City, Times Square was jammed with people embracing and dancing. In Naples, Italy, the Andrews Sisters had just finished singing “Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree” to U.S.
troops when Maxine Andrews was given a slip of paper and read the news; joyous bedlam ensued.
The official end of the war didn't come until Sept. 2, when Gen. Douglas MACARTHUR accepted the Japanese surrender from Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. He said, “Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended…. The holy mission has been completed.” President Truman declared Sept. 2 as official V-J Day.
V-J Day is a legal holiday only in the state of Rhode Island, where it is called Victory Day. In Connecticut, the tiny village of Moosup (a section of the town of Plainfield) claims to have the only V-J Day parade in the country. Sponsored by the local American Legion post, it began small in 1961 and now features more than 200 units—marching bands, floats, civic groups, color guards, and Gold Star Mothers (women who lost a son or daughter in war)—and attracts some 10,000 spectators.
Naval Historical and Heritage Command
805 Kidder Breese St. S.E.
Washington Navy Yard
Washington, D.C. 20374
American Legion National Headquarters
700 N. Pennsylvania St.
P.O. Box 1055
Indianapolis, IN 46206
National Archives and Records Administration 700 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20408 202-357-5000 or 866-325-7208
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