It's Over- page 11 | 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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I remember my parents and their friends listening to a radio and becoming very excited. At the same time, I heard people yelling, the sound of firecrackers, and what sounded like pots and pans banging. We ran to the camp and I saw men pushing themselves in wheel chairs, yelling that the war was over, crying, banging on pots and pans, and one of the men was firing a rifle in the air. My parents and their friends joined the men and soon more neighbors came to the camp yelling with joy, hugging the men, and, like some of the men, they too were crying. As an eight year old I had never seen anything like this. I still remember the joy and excitement of that day. This was an event in my life I will never forget.

Richard A. Cyr
Portsmouth, Rhode Island





I was a First Lieutenant and was one of 100 flight instructors at Goodfellow Field, San Angelos, Texas, about 220 miles southwest of Dallas. I was up solo in an AT6 (AT stands for Advanced Trainers) when they announced over the radio that the war was over. I let out a "big yell" and did a few slow rolls and then flew back in and went back to the base. An AT6 was an all-metal, low-wing two place airplane with retractable landing gear. It had a 650 horsepower engine and a sliding-glass canopy. We didn't have to open the canopy to land. We were required to have a parachute strapped on and the chute was our seat-it wasn't the most comfortable seat. From ATs, pilots moved on to fighters-P51, P38, P39-these had armor, weapons and were three times faster than trainers. My fondest memory of flying the P51 was that it was fun to fly. It had a 1750 horsepower engine and was such a well-known plane. My term of leave was up in December 1946 but I got out about a month before that.

Mr. William E. Fleury
Knoxville, Tennessee


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