It's Over- page 26 | History | Smithsonian
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It's Over

We asked readers to tell us where they were and how they reacted to the news that World War II had ended. And what a response we got!

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We had just played a few games and had gathered five friends plus my two sisters and me around the table to celebrate my younger sister's seventh birthday with cake and ice cream. This may not seem too out of the ordinary, but we had been rationing butter, eggs, milk, sugar, flour for four years. The nation was war-weary having many sons, daughters, husbands and fathers sent into combat half a world away. The small Emerson radio was on in the living room of our duplex home. It was a clear day. We gathered to sing "Happy Birthday" to the honoree.

An excited voice broke into the music playing on the radio: "We interrupt this program to tell you the war is over!" With the sound of tremendous excitement, the words came again. "World War II is over. There is victory in Japan!" Very soon, church and school bells began to ring throughout the city, and the few who had cars honked the horns. We too grabbed a cowbell and headed for the bus. We rode to downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma where hundreds from throughout the city were shouting, singing, hugging strangers, ringing bells and carrying small flags. The revelry lasted for several hours. It was well after dark when we got back home.

Sarah Frances Kellogg Shaw
Charlotte, NC



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