Did you notice it anywhere? Were there any special sales or car deals to commemorate the day, one of the most significant in history? How many people flew flags to honor August 14, or what happened on this day 69 years ago? P...arades? Moments of silence? National Day of Remembrance? Nope. Today is remembered in quiet corners of nursing homes and retirement communities by old men who may not be able to say it anymore, but still can see it. They had survived a war that had claimed the lives of 405,000 of their comrades. It is also marked by the remaining survivors and later generations of those who lost the nearly 3700 from Colorado that left to save the world’s freedom and did not return.
August 14th, 1945, at 5pm Denver time President Harry S. Truman went on the radio and announced to a war weary nation that Japan had accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and the official surrender would be signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2nd. World War II was over. He asked that VJ Day be celebrated on the day the surrender was signed, but it was too late. Across the nation, a nation that had been at war for three years, eight months and seven days, city streets filled with a celebration like no other. In Denver thousands left office buildings, school campuses and factories like Gates Rubber and Remington Arms, headed to the State Capitol and further downtown where one reveler remembered, “Everyone was kissing everyone!!” August 15th and 16th were declared National Holiday’s and the celebrations continued until thoughts turned to, “what’s next?” Soon veterans would be returning home after being gone for so long. Would they be the same? How had war changed them? Happiness was joined by anxiousness. And the long wait for loved ones to get back home began.
I didn’t see much mention of VJ Day today in the newspaper or on the TV. Perhaps they’re waiting until September 2nd to mention it on the date the surrender was signed. Or perhaps it is old news now. 69 years ago today it was a current event. God Bless all of our WWII generation that stood tall then, and remembers quietly now. May your memories be of heroic deeds and great conquests; may God grant you peace in your sleep and pride for those you lost. Thank you homefront veterans and frontline heroes from a grateful generation you returned home to raise.