It's Over- page 31 | 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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With Bulova-like accuracy, the little gray carrier pigeon flew its mission swooping over our rural house toward the Fort Mifflin Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. We knew he had a coded message because one day his little wings faltered and he landed in my sandbox. We called the Navy and they came for their wounded warrior.

On August 15, 1945, my little avian soldier would have watched me from aloft and wondered where the rest of the children's Navy had gone. Dressed in a blue gabardine suit that I'd outgrown the previous winter, a paper hat from the Sunday funnies perched on my head, I marched into the woods drumming a large kitchen pot with a wooden spoon. My mission: to tell the beasts of the forest that America had won the war.

The music heard round the world played in my head. I was not aware of the embracing strangers and welcomings home. We didn't have TV in those days and wouldn't see the images until we attended our next Movietone News. But I knew the nightly news would change: no more battle reports; no more casualty reports; no more blackout curtains. The lights were back on. Our carrier pigeon, soon to be retired, had gone back to base.

Julie Eberhart Painter
Port Orange, FL




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