It's Over- page 34 | 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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Grandmother and I rode a streetcar from our neighborhood to downtown Denver to see a movie that afternoon. In the movie, Peggy Ann Garner was joyfully receiving a pair of white booted figure skates when the film stopped and the theater lights came up. Everybody booed and hissed, thinking the film had broken. Then the manager stepped onto the stage, raised his hands to hush the moviegoers and announced through tears of joy; "The war has ended!"

We sat in stunned silence for a moment; then everyone shouted with joy, poured into the streets and joined in the most boisterous, happy celebration I've ever seen! Young men in uniform were being thanked and hugged, and everyone was dancing. Shouts and confetti were pouring out of windows above us. There were spontaneous renditions of the national anthem and "God Bless America," loud and strong. It was a massive parade of endless joy. We stayed in the streets to watch until nearly dark.

Oh, by the way, we haven't seen the end of that movie yet! I'm over 70 now, and I still get a lump in my throat and tears of joy whenever I see a parade of soldiers returning home.

Jean Hejde
Fairview Heights, IL




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