It's Over- page 29 | 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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Catherine Rocks
Carlsbad, CA





I remember that day in August 1945 with incredible clarity. I was very lonely, confused, and it was the first time I remember seeing fireworks. All the young boys were gathered together on the top, open patio of the orphanage and when the fireworks burst, it seemed like they were at eye level. It was an exciting, yet terrifying experience. V-J Day was in full celebration.

Mt. Saint Frances was an orphanage owned by the Catholic Church and operated by the nuns in the small town of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. I was only five years old and my parents placed my older sister and me at Mt. Saint Frances for a three-month stay while mother was recovering from major surgery. I really wasn't an orphan, but someone failed to help me understand that subtle fact.

Eventually I was reunited with my family, but not before V-J Day was indelibly marked in my memory, and I'm often reminded of it through smells, colors, and, of course, fireworks.

H. Russell White
Kissimmee, FL

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