It's Over- page 36 | 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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Richard MacDonald
Green Valley, AZ





I was 17 years old when V-J day was announced. I was so excited that I went to downtown Washington, D.C. on a streetcar and got off in the middle of F Street. The crowds were unbelievable! I stood on the corner and, all of a sudden, a soldier grabbed me and kissed me and held me for a whole minute. There was a uniformed policeman standing almost next to me and I screamed to him that the soldier wouldn't let me go, and he said, "So what!" If a photographer had been there, it would have been like the famous picture of the sailor kissing the woman that was in Life magazine. My girlfriend and I stayed for about 15 more minutes. The crowd was shoulder to shoulder and it was getting scary, so we hopped on the streetcar to go home, but the driver wouldn't move. He was drinking a beer and shouting, "The war is over, I'm not moving from here!" We just got on the car and sat down in the back and watched the crowd from the windows. After about half an hour the driver got back in and, still drinking beer, shouted "OK, here we go!" Then we made the 40-minute trip to our stop, trying to be quiet so as not to upset the driver, who was intoxicated by then. We pulled the rope for him to stop, and he yelled "Happy V-J Day, girls!" and let us off. We were really thankful we made it home without an accident!

Ann Lederman



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