It's Over- page 3 | 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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Each night I would go to bed exhausted from all the work, but knowing I had done the best I could do. Before falling asleep, I would thank God for helping us get through another day. Then I would look at my two daughters, peacefully sleeping beside me, and know that no matter what happened, Aubry's brave and gentle spirit was with us.

Odean Fondren
Hendersonville, North Carolina





During the war, gasoline-rationing stamps were guarded as carefully as cash. One warm summer day, the few cars that traveled our country road were incessantly honking. Dare we hope? We turned on the radio and learned that it was true. The war was over. My father asked if I wanted to go for a ride with him, a rare treat. Of course I wanted to go. He drove a few miles to a country store and gas station. My father snapped his suspenders for emphasis when he told the owner to "fill 'er up. And spill a little." When our prized possession, a 13-year-old car, was full, he spilled a few ounces on the drive. For both my father and the owner, the most extravagant expression of celebration imaginable was to waste gasoline. The look between them and their silent handshake burned into my 8-year-old brain.

Fred McKee
Bettendorf, Iowa


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