Victory Day, formerly known as VJ Day, formerly known as Victory Over Japan Day, no longer is celebrated anywhere in the U.S. except in my formerly home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. It is celebrated the second Monday in August, even though Japan didn’t actually formally surrender until September 2, 1945.
The Ocean State is the only one that still observers an official holiday marking Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. That’s been the case since 1975, when Arkansas dropped the commemoration, which it had already rechristened “World War II Memorial Day” by that point.
There have been attempts to rename the holiday here in Rhode Island, too – Gov. Ed DiPrete tried to transform it into Governor’s Bay Day, and in 1995 there was a bid to start to calling it “Peace and Remembrance Day” – but protests from veterans and traditionalists have always put the kibosh on them.
There’s no question World War II had an enormous impact on Rhode Island. More than 100,000 of the state’s residents served in the war, and 10,000 were killed, injured or lost.
There is a memorial outside the library in Barrington, Rhode Island, where we used to live, with the names of 26 town residents killed during World War II. Twenty-six. From a tiny town in a tiny state. I think it is nearly impossible for us today to appreciate the sacrifices made.Or the will it took to insist on unconditional surrender.
Or the joy when the war truly was over.
I’ve posted this video before, but it’s worth posting again:
In September, the formal surrender papers would be signed on the USS Missouri:
[Featured Image Source: VJ Day in San Francisco & Redwood City, California ]DONATE
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