On August 14th, 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced to the world that World War Two had ended; years earlier at the conclusion of World War One, there was a feeling that such a global catastrophe couldn’t possibly happen again. Hence the nickname for World War One, “The War To End All Wars”. Upon the announcement on August 14, 1945, the war was truly over.
With VJ Day, World War Two fighting was over, and the celebrations began–August 14th, 1945 is the day one of the most famous images from the wartime era was shot–the famous “kiss” photo featuring a celebrating sailor kissing a random passerby.
Some may feel confused at this point; the Nazis in Germany “surrender” made in May of 1945 and not August? Victory In Europe Day, aka V-E Day, marks the formal surrender of Nazi forces on May 8.
But Japan had not yet surrendered and the war in the Pacific would wear on until August 14, 1945, when the Japanese formally surrendered. “VJ Day,” or Victory Over Japan Day is celebrated on the 14th, but thanks to time zone differences the Japanese surrender occurred on August 15th, 1945 on Tokyo time.
Japan’s surrender, presided over by General Douglas MacArthur and the Japanese foreign minister, Mamoru Shigemitsu, occurred on board the U.S. Navy battleship ‘Missouri’. It was a bitter defeat for Japan; Emperor Hirohito addressed Japan by radio stating that a continuation of hostilities would likely result in “the obliteration of the Japanese nation.”
How It All Began For Spirit Of ‘45 Day:
In 2010, Congress unanimously voted to observe August 14 as “National Spirit of ‘45 Day”. Since then a grassroots, non-profit movement to observe Spirit of ‘45 Day has sprung up, uniting hundreds of companies and agencies in an effort to remember those who served during World War Two.
Local military service clubs and organizations (American Legions, TAPS for Veterans, Bugles Across America, Am-Vets, and VFW) host special events to honor this day.
This is a special ceremony with speakers, prayers, and the playing of TAPS.
Today is truly the day to honor and salute ‘The Greatest Generation’.