It's Over- page 41 | History | Smithsonian
Current Issue
July / August 2014  magazine cover

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

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!

Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe

It was a scene that had always impressed me in the movies, signifying important or breaking news reports: newspaper boys hawking their papers with cries of "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" Now, as I stood in front of my dad's barber shop on a warm August morning in 1945, I was thrilled to see and hear that scene actually happening on the streets of my hometown. Boys I knew were performing the roles of the movie actors, offering the extra edition of the local newspaper announcing Japan's surrender. This unique occurrence would forever mark V-J Day in my memory.

To celebrate, my Dad, along with the other downtown merchants, closed their shops and businesses for the day, and we went fishing!

I was six at the time, but, in my own way, I understood the importance of this day. Most significantly, it meant my three beloved uncles would be returning safely from duty overseas, allowing them to get back to the task of spoiling their nephew!

Regrettably, another uncle would not return to the United States until 1948. He rested in the soil of France where he had succumbed to wounds received in the killing fields of Normandy. As a consequence, V-J Day was a bittersweet time for our family. We rejoiced in the victory, but we also understood the sacrifices made to achieve peace. We still honor my uncle's memory and remember with pride his service to our great nation.

Bill Howard





Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus