Charlotte Allen

(Maiden Name: Coan)

U.S. Navy


Charlotte was in Littleton, Colorado, living with her mother when she heard the news that the war had ended. She heard it over the radio. She waits for her husband who was stationed in Alaska.


"Thank god its over." is what she was thinking at the time. She had thought her husband was going to come home right away to meet their newborn but didn't come home a month after and wasn't even able to talk to him until he came home. Her son, Donald was ten months old. Her mother and herself were delighted and celebrated at home.


Her mother was a widow, and had two sons that were also in the war.

Her one word to describe the time would be Happy. Her brothers served in the army. One brother, her oldest, was medically discharged. Her other brother developed a skin disease from wearing wool and was eventually discharged. ____________


Florence Anderson

(Maiden Name: Boyd)



My name is Florence Anderson. I was in one of the first classes of enlisted WAVES from California. I served 3 years. After training at A&M College, my friend and I were transferred to San Francisco as recruiters.


We drove a 50 ft. trailer from city to city within 12 naval districts. Women were referred to us from different social clubs, and we would meet with them to try and recruit them.

Just after the bombs were dropped, we were aware that it was about over. Everyone was so excited to see what would happen.

I heard the war was finally over when someone in the office received a phone call. Thousands of people were suddenly filling Market Street, pouring out of all the buildings. It was a solid crowd of people, a really exciting time. People were kissing and dancing and celebrating in the street, all day and all night. It was absolutely wonderful to know it was over. I had lots to do to close down the offices, but those were good times. It was a wonderful time of transition.

My fiancé and I had a long engagement. We were engaged when he went to the Philippines with the National Guard. He was taken as a prisoner and did not return for a year. He was then shipped to Manchuria and put to work in a factory. They were treated horribly and many died on the death march.

After the surrender, when he was able to come home, he said the white hospital ship was the most beautiful site he ever saw. It was a very exciting time; we were married two months later.

After we married, we had a lot of free time before my husband was discharged so we traveled to keep in touch with the friends we had made.

Coming home to Salinas was hard because so many had died in the death march. Over 100 men went and only 47 came home. There was a lot of sadness mixed in with the celebration.


Joe Aranda

U.S Army Air Force


We were happy that the war was over and we were going home. We knew the end of the War was coming; it was only just a matter of time. As a result, we were quite relaxed and knew we weren't going to fight.

And the war ended quite suddenly and I was at Attu, one of the many small islands of Alaska. Afterward, I didn't think it was going to take seven months for me to go home. I was quite disappointed that it would take that long and thought I was going to go home in a hurry after thewar ended.

During that time period, I was thinking of the future--my job, a wife, civilian clothes, and be free. There was no place for me left in the service.

We were just looking forward to going home. Tat's what most of us wanted. ____________


Leo J. Astgen

U.S. Navy


Served In the Aleutian Islands campaign, St. Mihiel troop transport, as Ship's Cook First Class. After that, went to San Francisco and left the ship. Was sent to Norfork, Virginia, then to New Orleans and was assigned to a new ship, USS Osmus DE 701.


Went to the Atlantic Ocean for our shakedown cruise and then to Boston. Then we got orders to go to Panama and on to the Pacific Ocean through the Canal.


Served 3 years in the South Pacific from the Philippines to Okinawa. Had the surrender papers signed aboard by the Japanese before the final surrender on the Missouri.


News had come to us about the war ending and was greeted by all.

The first thing we knew we were heading back to the States and we started counting the points for discharging us.


I had enough so was ready to get home.



Sumie Augst



On December 7th, I had seen the bombing of the Arizona from a height of 5 stories on the roof garden of the House of Mitsukoski where I worked at the time.

On the day WWII ended, I was working as a sales person in a jewelry store in Honolulu.

When "the war has ended" was shouted, my boss told me to take the rest of the day off.

There was so much excitement and we all joined the parade that took place right away.

My feeling when the war ended was that of happiness because I knew then my only brother would be coming home from Europe where he was stationed with the 442nd Battalion boys.

I felt sadness too for all the soldiers who gave their lives.


Rodney Barrett

U.S. Army


On August 14th 1945, I had just returned from my final trip to the hospital where I was treated for a gunshot wound to the shoulder I received during a firefight between the Japanese and my regiment, the 25th Infantry Division, 27th Wolfhound Regiment, in the Philippines.

We were there training for the invasion of Japan after securing Balete Pass. We were all sweating the invasion, and knew we were being trained for a brutal situation.

That morning, at about 9:00, we were getting ready to go to the firing range when the word came that Japan had surrendered. When the announcement was made, we all started cheering. Someone said, "It might be a false alarm!" But we were so excited and I was so relieved that it might be over; that we wouldn't have to make the invasion and would be heading home soon, it didn't dampen my hopes.

Shortly after that, the company Commander called assembly and we all got into formation. When he announced the fact that Japan had surrendered, there was screaming and we were patting each other on the back, now knowing it was true.

After we got settled down again, the Captain told us about the big bomb. Up to this point I had not known anything about that atomic bomb. I wasn't greatly impressed with this bomb because at that time I did not know anything about the atomic explosions in Japan.

Others and I thought we would be going home to see our families and kiss the girls like we had heard happened when the war ended in Europe. We thought the boats would be coming over to take us back home.

But we were told that we would be part of the occupation of Japan and would not be going home. Instead, we were to start immediately to train to be an occupation unit. I had never thought about occupation after the war and was beginning to learn that the war was not going to be over for me soon.

Training for the occupation was kind of about-face to the training we had for the War. We were taught a few commands in Japanese and told that we would have to be kind and polite to the Japanese civilians.

After about a month of waiting, we were transported from our camp to Lingayen Gulf by truck and Philippine train. The ships that were to take us to Japan were anchored there in the Gulf. We were taken to the ship in landing crafts and there climbed onto the ship on the rope nets with everything we owned on our backs, which was our pack and duffle bags.

This operation was just the reverse of what we would have done if we had landed and invaded Japan. The day we were loaded on the ship for Japan was September 22nd 1945 and my 20th birthday. I was so physically sick; I could hardly make the climb. After resting and heaving several times over the side of the ship, I revived. It was a year later before I finally did get home in August of 1946.

I praised God that the war was over and we did not have to be in the invasion that would have taken thousands of lives on both sides.

The day, August 14th 1945, is a very important day in the history of our nation, and should never be forgotten. The day the Japanese surrendered and a long war had ended.


Chickie Berry

(Maiden Name: Shields)

Civilian, Other (American Orphan of WWII)


I have been thinking and trying to remember all the details, but I was only 7 years old and had been successfully insulated against all things "war" since my daddy died in Australia (he served in New Guinea) in 1943.


Whenever news would come on the radio, my mother would send me to my room ...but sometimes I would listen at the door. The grownups were always so sullen during those times.


I think I was sent outside to play when the actual end of the war came. I'm sure it must have been a bitter-sweet time for my mother don't remember her reacting or anything, but she had always been careful to never give me any reason to talk about the "war". I just knew that my daddy had died because of the war and I was the only little girl that had happened to. After joining AWON, American WWII Orphans Network <www.awon.org>


in 1995, I learned that there were over 183,000 of us. American boys and girls left fatherless because of WWII. Our fathers died not in vain, but for a cause much greater than themselves.


I have always missed not having my daddy in my life very much. I wish I could actually remember him, but I was only 3 when he left for the South Pacific and 5 when he died there. I am proud to be his daughter.


"In His Memory"
Chickie Shields Berry

Daughter of
CWO John Coleman Shields


Myrtle Bertrang

War bride (Australia)


I was at work in the City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Everyone was happy to have "PEACE" again and thankful to America for coming to Australia to give us aid during the war.

We were pleased to have our brother come home from the war. He was wounded and healing in an army hospital in Brisbane.


My husband was stationed on an island Hollandia and got leave so we could be married in Brisbane. He returned to Tokyo, Japan and this was in February 1946 to work at the Post Exchange in Tokyo. I was to go to Tokyo after my son was born but my husband's orders were changed to Michigan, USA. __________


Lucia Betancourt



We fought Germany and Japan during WW II. I was 12 years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed and our President Roosevelt declared war on Japan and Germany.


The country was not prepared for war so all the factories had to retool to make war supplies and bombs and tanks and clothing for the soldiers and sailors and build new airplanes...fighters and bombers.


Women worked in the factories while the men went off to war, which was very unusual. Women had worked as teachers and nurses and sales people but not in factories and they wore pants!!! Women even served in the military as pilots and many office jobs......not as fighters.


Germany and Japan were hated people. Our government took Japanese/American families out of their homes and put them in 'camps' during the war here on the west coast. Very sad situation.


The government thought that Oriental people would make trouble for us as we fought Japan. We never locked up any German people that always confused me.


I was horrified that we dropped two Atomic Bombs on Japanese cities killing thousands of civilians in the cities. That ended the war with Japan....we had already beaten Germany in April of 1945. I was glad the war ended and we could all get on with our lives. I was 16 years old. We had rationing of food during the war so it was nice to see the war end for that too. And gasoline for cars was rationed so people did not drive very much. __________


Dr. Walter Bortz

Sixty-four years dim only slightly my memory of the hot summer Tuesday, August 14, 1945, when I, a 15-year old, was on high alert.

I hung on every radio newscast. A few days earlier, we had dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On June 23, the Japanese had surrendered on Okinawa, having lost a hundred thousand casualties. Our B-29 bombers freely roamed the skies over Japan. More than 2,400 emergency landings had taken place on the landing strip cleared by the Marines on Iwo Jima. The Japanese sun MUST be setting.

I had maps of Iwo Jima and Mount Suribachi plastered on my wall. There really wasn't any front line as the Japanese were buried in a vast tunnel system. I tracked newscasts as best I could from my comfortable home in suburban Philadelphia. For my classmates the war was abstract. For me it was "Will I ever see my father again?"

My father, then 49, was a doctor, a captain in the Navy assigned to the Marines. Somewhere in the Pacific he was awaiting orders to begin the invasion of Japan. His letters were full of grim omen. A million further casualties were forecast. Mother and I were as close then to being religious as any time before or since.

Just six months earlier, Dad had been in one of the early waves of the attack when the 110,000 Marines landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. He wrote me daily of the ferocious combat and his personal encounters sleeping with a pistol under his pillow in case a Japanese soldier avoided the trip wires and prowled in. I could never imagine Dad pulling a trigger on any gun, and I'm sure he couldn't either.

On duty he was executive officer of an evacuation hospital on the beach and encountered many of the 25,851 casualties of the battle. Nearly seven thousand of them died. Some of the Marine companies lost as many as 75 percent of their men. Of the 22,000 Japanese men who were garrisoned on the island, less than 1,000 survived. There were 32 days of fighting on Iwo Jima, which means that on both sides almost a thousand men were killed and wounded every day.

Dad had seen the flag go up on Mount Suribachi on February 23, and sent me a precious picture of him with the Star Spangled Banner waving proudly in the background.

When on Tuesday, the radio crackled with the announcement that President Truman was about to make a major address, Mother and I trembled in anticipation. And when the surrender was announced, we were jubilant. As Danny Kaye said, "If I were any happier, I would be in an institution."

The whole neighborhood erupted, horns and shouts. Father was coming home! No son could ask for a richer reward, always proud then as now to be an American. I think I grew two inches overnight.

Dad actually went on and wrote the official Marine March for the Fifth Marine Division, "Men of Iwo Jima" and maintained contact with his many of his fellows Marines in later years.

To this day, I have his picture with the flag waving over Surabachi on my piano.

August 14, 1945, a day to remember and cherish forever.


Bertha Brandstatter

War bride (Germany)


The war for me and my family ended during the last days of April 1945. We lived in Passan, which borders on Austria and Czechoslovakia.

During the last days of the war we retreated to a little farm about 40 km from Passan. We could hear bombings and artillery shootings in all directions until finally my mother and I risked a bicycle trip back to town.

The highway was filled with American supply trucks and we walked in ditches-my mother telling me to keep my eyes to the ground and pull down the babushka. I was 18 years old!

The most important thing: the Americans had arrived and not the Russians- which was our biggest fear. My father followed military movings daily on the map.

The town was very quiet, people walked around in a daze wondering what to expect next. Soon there was turmoil everywhere, the town filled up with people of different nationalities to refugees to deserters, etc. Stores were empty, there was no electricity- and the Black Market was born! However, life went on and we lived in THE AMERICAN ZONE!

P.S. One thing I will never forget is watching the GI's eating at their soup kitchens. Never did I see bread SO WHITE! Were they eating cake?

Bill Brinkman

U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps


August 14, 1945, was a very happy day for me. I was stationed in Fort Ord, California at the time. I was getting ready to leave for the invasion of Japan, and the news brought me a sense of relief because honestly, I did not want to go.


I remember somebody coming in with a newspaper, exclaiming, "The war is over!" And I looked around me and saw happy faces of my fellow soldiers.


After I heard the news, I hurried upstairs and started to pack. It took about 3 days before I was able to go back home, where my girlfriend was waiting. My home at the time was in Long Beach, California.

After the war, I went to college and studied Psychology for 12 years.


Upon finishing my studies, I went to teach at the Jefferson Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, California. I practiced teaching the 6th grade in this school. After that school, I went to Paramount, California and taught 5th grade at the Henry Worth Elementary School for 7 years.


Then I retired, got married with the woman I waited my whole life for, and had 3 children, 2 girls and 1 boy.

There are many words that describe my feelings on that day. Happiness, relief, and joy. However, the one word that perfectly describes my feelings is happiness, because I was able to go back home and see my family and my girlfriend. __________

Kenneth Campen

U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps


I joined the Marines when I was 16 and heard there was a need for interrupters who spoke Japanese, which I had learned as a child. I was working in intelligence in Hawaii when the atomic bomb had been dropped.


I was told to get ready to fly to Iwo Jima and then to board the naval battleship the Missouri, which was positioned in the Pacific Ocean near Japan for the signing of the surrender.


On August 14th, 1945 I was there, on the Missouri, during the signing of   the Japanese surrender in case my services were needed. I don't remember any interpreters being needed as the documents were already prepared and just needed to be signed.


I do not recall the details of what was going on around me that day, as everything was happening very quickly. I do remember that I was very happy to hear the war had ended.


I stayed on the Missouri for three days and then transferred to another ship that took us to Japan.

Traveling around Japan organizing entertainment for our troops who occupied Japan. I remember the damage from the bomb in Tokyo. Everything was burned and it was like a ghost town.


I was discharged from the Marines in December 1945. I went to the University of Washington. During the war, the Japanese POW's would not cooperate with us, but the Korean POW's cooperated 100%.


I developed a respect and liking for the Koreans that continued at the University of Washington. Because of my knowledge of Korean, I was later asked to be commissioned into the Army.


Being fluent in Korean lead me to being an interpreter for President Kennedy in the White House. __________

Audrey Capuano

War bride (Australia)


I am from Adelaide S. Australia. Two of my friends who were also married to U.S. servicemen went to Sydney to wait for transportation to the U.S.A. The war ended while we were there.


The war in the Pacific was still raging. My husband was in the Philippines at that time.


I was elated it had ended and prayed that the Pacific War would soon end also. Thousands celebrated the end at Martin Place in downtown Sydney and I was one of them, singing and dancing in the street.


The Pacific war finally ended in 1945 and then I had a long wait for transportation to the U.S. that came April 8, 1946.


My husband was Robert Angelo Capuano. He served in the 32nd Division tank Destroyers of the U.S. Army. __________

Bob Caredio

U.S. Army, Other (Private)


I was born in San Francisco, California. I met Mildred (Babe) in Canada during a hiking trip and married her before I was 19 years old - the time I was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in WWII.


I served as a Private. We used guns such as the caliber 30 and M1 to fire against the enemy. After one year, I was discharged before the war ended; I remembered when I heard the news that the war had ended. I felt happy and satisfied.


I celebrated in San Francisco, California in the streets and buildings with a group of people including Bob, one of my closest friends. We drank good wine (i.e. Vino) and champagne. I


 later started college at the age of 25 at Saint Mary’s College and majored in History. I became a 12th grade history teacher at Live Oak high school. I taught for 15 years and retired in my early 50’s. From my experience, I would like the generation of today to continue to question. Do not take one answer as the final one for people can be biased and produce biased answers. __________

Malcolm Carmichael



I was a six year old, living with my parents and siblings in the semi-rural area of Pinehurst, a section of Billerica, Massachusetts.


Back then we had no modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing, running water, television, electricity, radios, etc.


We hauled the water we needed from a neighbor's well and used rainwater caught in barrels placed under downspouts for baths and the garden.

I was helping my father in our bountiful "Victory Garden" when a neighbor, who had electricity and a radio, came over the path through the woods connecting our properties to inform my dad that "Japan had surrendered".


At that age I knew something important had happened but couldn’t appreciate the significance of it all.


Prior to the war's end I remember lying in bed hearing the never-ending drone the military convoys made going from one post to another, even though the highways they traveled were miles from our home.


I recall seeing and hearing hundreds and hundreds of aircraft destined to far away places with strange sounding names, as my dad would say.

That was the year my oldest brother at long last managed to enlist in the Navy. More to escape an unhappy home life than anything else. He stayed in the Navy for thirty years. The tales he would tell when home on leave!


Around that time my favorite book was "Buddy And The Victory Club". It was about a group of enterprising kids collecting tin cans and scrap metal to aid the war effort.


In a word I was "curious" about a lot of things I didn't understand. __________

Vince Castaldo

U.S. Army



August 14, 1945, the end of WWII, I was in Europe with the 78th Infantry Division on standby.


The war with Germany was over and after dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the Japanese surrendered. Our Division was standing by, waiting for instructions to be sent to the Pacific.


Thank God, we did not have to go, as we had barely survived the Battle of the Bulge, The Crossing of the Rhine River and the saving of the Remagen Bridge. Our division was the first to cross the standing bridge, March 8th, 1945. A large bronze plaque was made with the words "78th Lightning Division 1st to cross the bridge."


That famous day, we were somewhere in Germany and battle fatigued and all we wanted to do was to go home! Among several citations, I was   awarded 3 bronze stars and a silver star.


Why did we have to wait for so long in Germany mid January of 1946 before we could return home? I have always wondered about this. I was thinking on that day that my core obligation upon returning home was reuniting with my parents and then to enter college under the G.I. Bill.


Later on I did receive a degree. Our home was a short distance from Albany, N. Y. and in the fall of 1946, I secured a job with General Electric. They hired me and that is where nuclear reactors were being designed for submarines. Former President, Jimmy Carter, was assigned to assist in development of nuclear reactors at that time.


For 41 years, as an employee of General Electric Co., my position was manager of purchasing. After spending 2 years in Tokyo, Japan, I was transferred to San Jose, California, this being the company headquarters in marketing Commercial Nuclear Power plants for U. S. and foreign countries.


Since retiring late in 1988, my wife and I decided to move from Los Gatos, Ca. to Palm Desert, CA. During our stay in the desert, I volunteered as Security Officer for the Bob Hope Classic and also became a member of the Rancho Mirage Cops.


Suffice it to say that my marriage of over 59 years to my childhood sweetheart was the best ever. My wife taught school in the local schools. We were lucky as we traveled the world. __________

Armand Christeler

U.S. Army

I was still in the Service. I was still overseas, over Europe. In Belgium, that was where I was stationed for a while.

I was working in the field hospital, dressing wounds, and got the men so that they could be carried out further.

I was with the General Hospital. There were about 500 enlisted men, officers, and nurses and other personal.

We were all very happy. And we started waiting for our turn. The Battle of the Points began, to see how many points we got where we could go home. You had to have a certain number of points. The longer you served, the more points you had and you could get home. That was in 1945. Plus you had to get a ship where we could go home.

I think the war was very necessary when you consider the evil Hitler represented.

We just had to wait around in the boats. I got a trip to England, Switzerland, two weeks at a time. We just trying to keep busy, keep out of the way.

I was extremely glad. I had no desire to stay on any further.

I didn’t see entirely too much action but we were subjected to the buzz bombs from Germany. As a rear movement, the hospital was, we were eventually turned into a field hospital since we were so close to the front lines.

We had a close shave from the German Army. There was a Tiger tank found 5 miles from our camp, so that shows you how close they were to running us over. We were ready to leave that day. __________

Frances Clemons

(Maiden Name: Sexton)

(Child of U.S. Army Private Bernard Sexton, killed in action)

This was to be our first "big" trip for my mother, my sister and me following my dad's death in France on September 17, 1944 - my sister's 4th birthday.

Dad's sister, Margaret, lived in Baltimore, and asked that we come for a visit. We knew this would be a long bus ride from Princeton, WV, especially in the day when you could catch the bus anywhere along the way. People would get on carrying farm fresh eggs, butter or other items to trade for other goods at the grocery store. You could also get coffee; sugar or flour provided you had ration stamps.

Along the way word spread that the war was over and all hell broke loose. People literally climbed on the top of the bus in northern Virginia, and everyone was celebrating in their own way except for my mother, my sister and me. The internal turmoil my mother experienced upon learning of my father's death had caused her to fear everything and trust no one. Of course this was a scary time for her children as well.

When we finally arrived in Baltimore, - much later than originally scheduled, it seemed all the businesses were closed and there was no food available at the bus terminal and my mom was afraid to go onto the street to look for anything. She tried to call my aunt but was unable to reach her, so we got on the next bus possible and returned to WV without ever seeing Aunt Margaret.

While this was a time of joy for many, it was just another grief-stricken day in our lives. Although it will be 65 years since my father's death my mother at age 91 is still the sad person she became when my father died. Remember, many causalities of war do not die on the battlefield, nor are they buried in military cemeteries in the U.S. and abroad. __________

Carl Cole

U.S. Army Air Corps

Where was I on August 14,1945? I was setting in the pilots seat in a C54 aircraft flying over San Francisco, CA when the celebrating began. We had just taken off from Fairfield-Susun air base and were headed west. We found out later we were part of a group of 350 C54's and 500 crews headed to Okinawa to drop paratroopers over Japan.

Fortunately we did not have to do this. Instead we moved an airborne division, an infantry division, and a marine division into Japan. My crew and I made 4 round trips taking men and equipment to Japan and bringing back our liberated prisoners-of-war.

In talking to some of the prisoners they told me that the guards left their posts and they were free to go, so some of them started roaming around the streets and were later gathered up by our forces and moved to the airport to start home. Some of the prisoners were not in very good shape but all were very happy to be heading home.

I talked to one man who grew up during the Depression on a farm and said he was physically strong and could stand the punishment, but many of his friends who grew up with an easy life were either killed or starved. They were all excited about being free.

From 1941 to August 1945 I made 52 combat missions in bombers (10 in B26's, 37 in B25's and 5 in B24’s) in the Southwest Pacific, and in 1945 made 9 other trips across the Pacific in C54 aircraft. I just had my 91st birthday and have many memories I could share. __________

John Crowhurst

U.S. Army, Civilian

At the start of the war John had been living in San Francisco with his family. Soon John was drafted and sent to Texas for 5 weeks of training.

There John was trained to be a battlefield medic in the AMERICAL DIVISION. After training he was shipped out from San Diego to join everyone else in the Pacific. The boat trip there had been long, and finally John found himself on the island Leyte in the Philippines.

Throughout the war, John was in Leyte, Cebu, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji where he had to struggle with the agonizing tsetse flies, whom gave him the awful Dengue fever. As a medic in the war, John was constantly in the center of the fighting treating his fellow wounded soldiers.

Facing many near death experiences, John spent a total of three years away from home fighting in the Pacific. When the war finally ended, John was on the first boat of soldiers to go under the Golden Gate Bridge to come home. __________

Mitchell Cwiek

U.S. Army Air Corps


I was visiting with my favorite cousin and his wife, Bill and Marion Morris, on Woodland Street in Hartford, Connecticut when the news of the wars end was received.

We decided to walk to the center of the city, a distance of about two miles, to see what was going on because we anticipated some celebrations.

As we approached the area of Main Street we encountered increasingly heavy crowds of boisterous, happy people. The area in front of the Old State House and The Travelers Tower was crammed with people. No traffic of any kind was able to move. The noise was overwhelming.

I was soon separated from my cousin Bill and his wife Marion as the crowds swept me along. All liquor stores were closed but there were cheerful ladies shouldering their way through the crowds along Asylum Street with brown paper bags containing bottles of whiskey and a supply of small paper cups. They were happily pouring drinks for any person in uniform.

There was a lot of hugging and kissing in evidence. There was an underlying joy among all the military people because this good news meant they would not have to face the prospect of combat in the Pacific area. If Japan had not surrendered who knows how many of the happy uniformed people in Hartford that day might never have survived to enjoy a future life.

This experience was in marked contrast to what I experienced on VE day (Victory in Europe) in May 1945. On that day there were equally boisterous and happy crowds in London, England and in other Allied cities in Europe, but I happened to be in a U. S. Army hospital near Liverpool.

I had only recently been liberated from a German POW camp and I celebrated VE Day quietly. I was invited to an Army doctor's office in the hospital to share a drink with a couple doctors. __________

Bud DArezzo

U.S. Navy

In 1942, when he was 18, Bud D'Arezzo joined the Navy. He went to midshipmen school were he was commissioned as an officer and then went on to New London Connecticut to train in submarine school.

He said he wanted to get involved in submarines because they were incredibly interesting and because the idea of diving under sea to attack greatly appealed to him. He was a sonar officer whose job was to listen for enemy vessels.

The submarine personnel were considered a "pet" force, he said, and were given a break at "rest camp" about every two weeks. D'Arezzo remembers rest camp as a little vacation where the men were served "extremely good food" and had "good times."

His most memorable experience of the war was engaging a submerged Japanese submarine, which his crew could only see on sonar. The Japanese sub fired, missing, and the US sub fired, missing, before the Japanese turned and moved off. He recalls that as the scariest moment of the war.

At the end of WWII, D'Arezzo remembers receiving orders from headquarters at Pearl Harbor to stay submerged. He saw all sorts of US ships pouring into Tokyo Harbor, marking the end of conflict. __________

Tom Degidon

U.S. Navy


On August 14, 1945, I got up and found the Captain of the good ship USS Block Island, a baby flat-top, dancing on her deck elatedly screaming at the top of his lungs "it's over, it's over!"

There had been rumors floated around in the days before that Japan had announced their surrender, such rumors are commonplace in the service, but by the look on his face and the tone of his shouts, I could tell this time it was for real.

The euphoric scene felt almost surreal, with the sun shining and everybody cheering. I was so excited my heart could not stop pounding. The Captain, a very serious, capable leader, could be seen jumping around the ship like a happy clown.

Soon after, we were ordered to go back to the base. We were driven by car to a base that was either in Maryland or Virginia. We never knew exactly where we were; this was because we were on Shore Fire Control, known to the public as frogmen or Navy Seals by Hollywood.

For security reasons, we were often not told the location of where we were being stationed. We were all volunteers, but that's a different story. When we got there, everybody was excited - we all hugged each other. As all the exhilaration settled down, I went to a chapel and thanked God.

Many of my experiences from the war, some joyful and some unspeakably painful were set-aside in the years that followed.

Over the last few years, after viewing Ken Burns’ documentary “The War,” I have felt inspired to write a screenplay "Home," reflecting on the experience of the war’s end. My ultimate goal is to put home on Broadway so that young people get a sense of understanding, encouragement and inspiration from what we went experienced and what we did, so they can feel empowered to face the challenges of their time. __________

Joan DeMunbrun

(Maiden Name: Schwochert)

U.S. Army Air Corps


On August 14th 1945, I was stationed at Lawry Air Force Base in Colorado as part of the Women's Army Corp attached to the Air Corp. We consisted of several thousand personnel. I was an instructor for the operation of aerial cameras. We were aware of stepped up activity and were always on alert, but this was different.

As I recall, sometime around midday I heard the sounds of screams of "it's over" and personnel started running from the base.

I felt stunned.

Then I thought of my first assignment in Eagle Pass, Texas Army AT6 Flying School. As a photographer, I photographed the 18-year-old cadets coming in the field.

I also photographed crashes where we were ordered to take photos of the serial number of the plane and send it to Washington. I would then go to the lab and pull the negatives of the cadet who had become the casualty and make an enlargement of it for the family. I realized that the boys were not coming back home.

The women had signed up for the duration of the war plus six months. Having been on the bases for three years and never having been out of uniform, I realized now I would be going home. When I enlisted, I was living in a hotel so I didn't know where home would be. All I knew was the Army would pay for my trip back to Minneapolis and on Thanksgiving Day 1945, I was discharged and returned to Minneapolis.

I spent thirty days planning on my future and decided to attend Fred Archer School of Photography in Los Angeles, a two-year program that had been established for the returning veterans. From that time on my life has been with the veterans and of service to veteran causes. __________

Joy Diers

War bride (Australia)

We were on our honeymoon in Sydney. At the time, Queenslanders were not allowed to cross the border but my husband knew the one in charge and managed to make a special request that four be allowed to go to Sydney, my husband and I and a GI and his wife.

The end of the war had a tremendous effect on my husband and me in particular because his belongings were put on a ship in Brisbane heading for landing in Japan. He got to take them off and head back to the USA, as he had already been overseas since March 1942.

We got to spend 3 months together before the next ship left for the USA. Then I waited 11 months to be able to go to Seattle Washington to join him. __________

Catherine Fogarty

War bride (United Kingdom)

I was stationed in Winchester England, when we all heard the news. We were all singing and dancing. There was no work done that day. It was so exciting.

I was so happy that day. I will never forget it. My father was a ship builder and my mother worked in a store. It was so good for them. They didn't have to go to the air raid shelter any more, but they were still rationed. My dad was happy because he wouldn't be in the Home Guard any more.

Barry Friedman

U.S. Navy

My story actually begins about three months before August 14,1945.

On May 4th 1945, I returned to the States after about two years aboard a destroyer in the Pacific. I left my ship still on picket duty between Japan and Okinawa. Our duty was to warn those ashore of an approaching flight of enemy planes. Many of those planes saw us as targets and our squadron alone lost most of our ships to the Kamikazes.

But now I had arrived back in San Francisco and received my orders to stateside duty on the East coast. On May 7th, 1945 I boarded a DC3 with a planeload of other military people most of whom like myself had returned from a combat zone.

When we were over Omaha, the plane captain announced that Germany had surrendered. The news was expected, so the celebration didn't last long. Most of us expected to be back in the Pacific to the war we had left.

We approached New York at dusk and the plane captain announced that he would fly over the Statue of Liberty. He said that we might not be able to see it in the darkness that was coming on, because the light in Liberty’s torch had been blacked out since the start of the war. We all crowded to the windows hoping to catch a glimpse of the statue.

The next few moments were a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As we gazed down in the gloom, the statue first appeared as a dark mass. From the torch in the statue’s raised hand, a tiny lamp began to glow. At first it seemed no brighter than a match.

Gradually it became brighter and brighter - like a huge white flower opening until it lit up the sky. The Statue of Liberty torch, dark through the years of the war, was turned on again... it was VE Day, Victory In Europe.

If there’s a point to this story it’s this: To those of us returning from the battlefield, the Statue of Liberty we crawled over each other in our anxiety to see, was a symbol that stood for why we had gone to war. So many of our friends, comrades, loved ones, had died protecting that symbol, assuring that the torch in Liberty’s hand would remain bright to light up our lives, our country, our world, our planet.

Avrum Gandel

(Maiden Name: Gandel)

U.S. Army, U.S. Merchant Marine

On the morning of August 13, 1945, Gandel landed in the harbor of Okinawa, Japan in his ship, the Ambrose Bierce. The huge harbor was filled with about 1,000 ships. Gandel claimed, "You could almost walk from ship to ship."

Although the ships were set to leave for a landing in Japan, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had left the ships no reason to leave harbor. Most ships that left went to Japan as military aid.

The evening of the 13th, Avrum reminisced, "I was setting up the mess hall aboard ship. We had a radio system for the army, 'Armed Forces Radio', that put out news and music. As I was preparing for the supper feed, I heard this fellow yell over the radio, ‘Give me clearance! Give me clearance! Oh, the hell with it! The war is over!'" As soon as it stated to get dark, every ship in the bay shot off every piece of arm. It was a display of fireworks that Gandel "[has] never seen since."

Gandel was thankful that the war was over. However, reminiscing about that day, Avrum realizes that ever since WWII, "we have lost every war" since, and looks back with a heavy heart.

Horst Gansert

Foreign military (Germany)

In the summer of 1945 we were transferred back to Camp Atterbury, Indiana (a German POW camp). In August two the U.S. dropped atom bombs and the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were flattened. The war was now really over. Japan capitulated days after this horrible disaster, ending a world war that had lasted six grueling years.

A week or so after the war had ended trucks moved into the camp and most of our food was removed from the kitchens. No explanation. Even things like soft drinks from the PX and cigarettes went out. Eventually some POWs working in the fields had dizzy spells and collapsed unconscious.

The farmers became alarmed and their production suffered. They complained to the various camp commanders and the news media soon caught on to what was happening. There were headlines on the front pages of newspapers that proclaimed that German POWs were being starved and one headline I saw asked, "Are we turning POW camps into concentration camps?"

Several weeks later the food was brought back again. I became one of a ten men work detail who were assigned to work as KPs in one of the Army kitchens inside the U.S. Army camp, washing dishes, mopping floors and such.

I was lucky to work in the kitchen during the meager times in the POW camp and we were allowed to eat all we wanted.

During the night only a few GIs would come to eat. I took care of them and it wasn't long before they treated me as one of them. Some of the soldiers back from the Pacific sat down with me and told me their war stories, and some taught me more English. They had chocolate and cigarettes for me most of the time. We got to know each other so well even the five MPs who came to eat every evening joked around with me.

I admired Americans and their ways, loved their music and Glen Miller became my favorite. I was happy here. __________

Cornelius (Neil) Haggerty

U.S. Navy

Early this morning, August 15th, now known as VJ day or peace with Japan, we flew six of our Navy planes from Maui to Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.

The planes were lifted from the runway to the flight deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise. We removed our clothing from the deck and took them to our new room on the ship.

My roommate and I decided to play nine holes of golf. We stopped at the bar to have a beer after nine holes of golf. The bartender was very excited and told us that Japan had surrendered. We were overjoyed because the Enterprise was leaving the next morning for the Invasion of Japan.

Our estimated loses of crewmen based on our experience on Okinawa of 30% loses would be in the 50% range.

I would no longer have to go through their personal effects of my fellow pilots, nor assist the captain in writing the letter in explaining the deaths of my Crewmen of VB-14 to their wives and family.

We were both very thrilled that we would not have to invade Japan. This meant that I would be able to go home to my lovely wife and to hold first child, little Theresa, who was six months old, in my arms. __________

Richard A. Hardy


I was 12 years old, and my father had been classified 1A for the draft and expected to be called any day.

He told me that I would have to help my mother at home and to be much nicer to my younger brother. My uncle, Dad's younger brother, although married and with three children, had been drafted or enlisted a year or so earlier, had been wounded at Le Harve, France, and was recovering. Dad was working as a rigger at the time building Liberty Ships at the South Portland, Maine shipyard.

I don't recall if I heard it first on the radio, but suddenly everyone was shouting that Japan had surrendered unconditionally and the war was over! It was just pure happiness and exhilaration everywhere!

I remember that I did not know if I was so happy because my Dad did not have to go to war, or that no more of my neighbor's would be killed. Perhaps it was simply that the unbounded joy, happiness, relief, and freedom that enveloped the adults were transmitted from them to me. We were all one at that point.

I left my house and walked to the town square, and it seemed the entire 18,000 population of Sanford, Maine had done the same. I have never witnessed such pure joy before or since. There were no strangers, everyone knew that we had all endured and fought the war together, and we had won together. __________

Sylvia Harris

War bride (United Kingdom)

I was on a tram going back across the water to my Grandma's and I heard all kinds of murmurs and buzzing and I finally asked someone what was going on and she told me the war was over!

As my husband, Jack Harris, was still in the army at Kennedy general Hospital, the first thing that came to my mind was that he would not have to go to the C.B.I. Theatre as that had been the rumor. You can imagine how relieved I was about that! __________

Juanita Harris

Office worker in an essential industry

My husband Stan and I had just arrived in Tuskegee, Alabama.

The war in Europe was over, but Stan, a pilot, had not been separated from the Army Air Force yet. I had graduated from the University of Minnesota in May and was hoping to get a job at the Tuskegee Institute.

Stan and I had gotten married on August 7th, bought a car and drove off to the South. The one thing that I remember the most was how well we were treated. Stan was a Captain. Everywhere we went, people saluted him and asked about his time in the service.

I remember feeling no joy on August 14 - just relief that the war was finally over. I remembered the cousin that had gotten killed on D-Day; and all of the friends I had gradated from high school with who would never return. I was thankful that the War was over and that perhaps we could return to some form of normalcy.

The War has left its mark on all of us. Friends and relatives lost. We shall never forget them. We speculate on what they could have become. And in the end, our servicemen were called "The Greatest Generation". I can add nothing more to that.


Dave Heagerty

U.S. Army

I learned of the end of World War II, on August 14th, 1945, while in the shower after football practice at what then was known as San Francisco JC on Ocean Avenue, SF.

It was close to 5 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon. The Japanese surrender did not come as a surprise. In fact we expected the Japanese warlords would have capitulated between the dropping of the two atomic bombs, Hiroshima (August 6th) and Nagasaki (August 9th).

We got out of our shower, quickly dressed and hurried to catch a “K” Line street car that would normally drop us off at First and Market Street for a block’s walk down First Street to Mission Street and the East Bay Terminal. An “A” train ride across the bay to Havenscourt Blvd in Oakland would bring me to within three blocks of home.

Celebrating the war’s end quickly and wildly got underway on Market Street in Downtown San Francisco, so Market Street car lines were directed to Mission Street.

I was 17 at the time and a recent High School Graduate. I had already enlisted in an Army Special Training Program/Enlisted Reserve Corps on July 24th and was awaiting orders to attend fall classes in uniform at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Classes would start in early September.

After a quick dinner at home I would join my parents for a ride downtown to participate in a spontaneous celebration of the war’s end that would take place at Oakland’s 14th and Broadway.

It not only marked the end of a costly and destructive war that killed 60 million world wide, including a quarter million Americans, but it also ended one of the greatest eras of unified community spirit and civilians pulling together in our nation’s history.

While the use of atomic bombs has spurred endless controversy ever since, it did end hostilities, which if allowed to continue probably saved another two million lives, both American and Japanese and perhaps even my own. __________

Irene Hegg

(Maiden Name: Irving)

Factory worker in an essential industry

On August 14, 1945, I was living on 6th Street in Aberdeen, Washington, with my sister, Peggy, in the house that our parents had left us.

Both our husbands were in the service. Peggy's husband, Chuck Fradenburg, was serving in Germany, and Sterling, my husband was in the Pacific, serving in the US Coast Guard. I hadn't seen Sterling for 16 months. Our first child, Stanley, was only 3 months old when his father enlisted. I still remember standing there with my baby in my arms, both of us crying our eyes out, watching him disappear over the hill to board the bus that was to take him to California to report to duty.

All the time he was away, he wrote home faithfully and often wrote about having more children. He also sent us some pictures (my favorite is of him sitting on a cot reading the Stars and Stripes -- he later became a newspaperman himself.)

During the early part of the war, I had worked the night shift as a "Rosie" at the Boeing Aircraft Plant in Aberdeen inspecting fuselage rings for the bombers that were being built there.

I remember how our supervisors kept stressing how important it was that our boys had failure proof equipment to fly them as safely as possible to and from their targets.

Later on, someone at the local school administration asked me to help teach at the local elementary school, since there was such a shortage of teachers.

There was a lot of upheaval in the schools at the time, because of the way the war had disrupted the lives of so many. (The teacher who I replaced had a mental breakdown in front of her students when she learned that her son had been killed.) I discovered that I had a talent for working with children who were bright but emotionally distraught, a career a pursued many years later.

I can't remember the exact time of the day when we learned that Japan had surrendered, but I do remember Peggy and I leaning forward listening to the announcement on the radio. We couldn't believe that the war was finally over. We were so happy that it meant that our husbands would soon be coming home. Stanley would see his father again and our family would be reunited at last.

Before Sterling arrived home, I had a terrible shock when I was visited by the minister of our church who came to tell me that Sterling's father had received a telegram from the War Department notifying him that his son had been killed in combat.

At first, I was staggered by this news, but the more that he talked to me, I realized that the minister had confused Sterling with his younger brother, Royce, who had joined the Army only a few months earlier as soon as he graduated from high school. It was Royce who had been killed on Okinawa.

My heart ached with conflicting feelings to be so relieved that it was Royce, and not my husband, who had lost his life.

When Sterling finally arrived at our front door, I was so excited, laughing and crying at the same time, that I couldn't open the screen door to let him in! I could hardly recognize him. He had lost so much weight and was sunburned a deep brown!

I remember feeling a sense of guilt that my loved one was home, safe and unharmed when so many other had lost their lives or were forever scarred by the horrors of war.

Now that we are in the twilight of our lives, Sterling and I have an even deeper appreciation of how we were the lucky ones, who went on to have the joys of family, homes and careers. It is so important that people never forget how much was paid by those who gave their all for our country. __________

Ed Henschel

Other (U.S Navy Reserve)

What do I remember about VJ Day or August 14, 1945 and the end of WW II? It is very difficult to remember after so many years have passed. That was 64 years ago and I can hardly remember yesterday!

I was an aviation radioman stationed at Kaneohe, Hawaii. Our radio shack served about 20 stations. Remember back then it was Morse code, not cell phones, not regular phones, and radio did not reach very far. Dot dash was the name of the game.

I believe I was sleeping when word was received about the Japanese surrender. I was assigned to the mid watch or third shift. Upon hearing the news, my thoughts immediately shifted to “what do I do next?”

I was very lonesome for my family in Chicago and very, very lonesome for my one and only love in my life! She was very gorgeous and sharp young lady I met in Tillamook, Oregon when I was a member for ZP33. This Squadron consisted of LTA Blimps, or (Lighter Than Air Blimps).

The western coastline of the United States was patrolled by these blimps from San Diego, Moffat Field, Tillamook and Quileute, Washington. They would escort crippled ships to the repair docks in Washington and California while constantly on the lookout for enemy submarines.

I left for Hawaii November of 1944 and by November of 1945 I had received approximately 365 letters from my girlfriend and she had been sent approximately 365 letters from my girlfriend and she had been sent approximately 365 letters from me! At that time she was living in Campbell, California.

Was I worried about the economy or anything like that? NO WAY! I was 20 years old and my thoughts were about my girlfriend and ME!

I was discharged from the Navy December 4, 1945, married on the 16th of December and left for Chicago on the 20th of December 1945 to introduce my new bride to my family. That explains what I was thinking during that day that ended WW II. __________

George Hoover

U.S. Army Air Corps

On August 14, 1945. I was on board the USS Brazil in the Mediterranean Sea. We had left LeHavre, France, on our way to the China Burma India Theater. The 425th Night Fighter Squadron had orders to go there.

We heard the News when our Master Sergeant came running thru the crowd on deck that were just laying around getting some Sunshine.

He was yelling, "Our orders have been changed to go to New York!"

We thought it was a prank, but one of the Officers was right behind him and said they had received the news by radio. Him we believed.

One word to describe my feelings of that day? HAPPY.

We had been in England, France and Germany flying our missions with The P-61 Black Widow; airplanes equipped with Radar for night flying missions and were ready for some different scenery.

Then orders came through that we were to go to March Field, Riverside, CA. About six days later we arrived at Pier 19 in New York. As we sailed into the harbor everyone ran to the railing to see the sight. We were warned that the ship might capsize if too many were on one side.

From Pier 19 we were trucked over to Fort Myers where they changed our orders again. Due to the Point System being used at the time, we received a 30-day furlough. __________

Murray Hunt

U.S. Army Air Corps

There was little enemy aerial resistance in the last months of the war, so we, as Aircraft Armorers had little to do. In August 1945, when the War was officially over, I had signed up to go to American University, being held in Biarritz, France.

Our appreciative country started this program for their servicemen to help them get started on a new life. I chose this because I did not have enough points to be eligible to return home. The point system was installed for those men who had served the longest in battle areas overseas. I learned that I had enough points for a trip home sometime in September.

Earlier, we had been kept very busy when we were in France, and especially in Italy, the previous summer, when our 86th Fighter Group flew four missions a day. Our airfield in Germany was built by the US Corps of Engineers.

I was sent to Italy in July 1944 and assigned to the 86th Fighter Group, which had taken over the airfield at Grossetto, north of Rome. Later, after the 92nd Division had pushed the German Wehrmacht north of Lucca, we took over the airfield in Pisa. The 86th Fighter Group of the 12th Air Force distinguished themselves there.

The following year in February our whole Group left Italy and sailed to Marseilles, France. From there we convoyed to northern France, near Nancy, where the Corp of Engineers built an airfield on farm land, to be closer to the fighting front and make it possible to run more missions. Our missions consisted of bombing and strafing the enemy.

We left France and convoyed into Germany sometime in early spring where we were in Gross Gerau. I had enough points for my return trip (by boat) in November, and was very glad to be home and my one and a half year old son.

I had enlisted into the Air Corps, as it was then called, on October 6, 1941, two months before Pearl Harbor was destroyed. After Aircraft Armament School at Lowry Field and Buckley Field, both in Denver, I was an instructor for 2 and half years before my orders to go overseas. __________

Joseph Intaschi

U.S. Marine Corps

When I was eighteen years old and living in San Francisco, I joined the Marine Corps Reserve in April of 1936.

I reported for active duty November 7th 1940 and was sent with the First Marine Brigade to Reykjavik, Iceland in July of 1941. I was in the Motor Transport Division of the Marines. In the fall of 1942, I was reassigned to the S. Pacific as a Staff Sergeant.

It was from Wellington, New Zealand that I was later sent to the Pacific Theatre of war, seeing action in Saipan, Okinawa, Guadalcanal, and the Solomon Islands.

I was recalled to active duty in March of 1950 for the war in Korea. The time in Korea was absolutely the worst as the fighting was constant and besides snow and ice, we almost froze to death with temperatures dipping to 47 degrees below zero.

Having survived many strategic battle places, I found myself on my way home on a small well stocked LST ship traveling from Saipan to Honolulu when the news came that the war had ended with the Japanese on August 15, 1945.

As the news came thru the ship on August 15, 1945, we were ecstatic. My friends were happy- hugging, crying, and trying to call home. They were celebrating in any way they knew. I breathed a sigh of relief as I had seen enough and all I to wanted to do was to go home to see my family and friends.

At the time we were stationed on a ship in Pearl Harbor. We spent that night at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu; it was surprisingly very quite that night.

I was in the service a total of 40 years, 3 months and 17 days, counting active and reserve duty. I retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 4th Grade.

Over the years I received the Presidential Unit Citation, American Defense Medal Citation, the European Theatre War Medal, and The Asiatic Pacific Theatre of War Citation plus many battle stars.

On July 4, 1948 I married Marie Gattuccio and we were blessed with our daughter, Linda. __________

Zazilia Kiefer

War bride (Austria)

In Linz, Austria, everything was in chaos, ruins all around us from bombings. Americans occupied left side of the Danube with River Russians on the right side. I was taking private English lessons and got to work as an interpreter for the Army.

The end of the war meant "hope" for a future. No more running to the bomb shelter during all hours at night. No more food stamps, which were very limited to exist on. No more staying in line for bread, etc.

Our soldiers were coming home and families would be together again. Refugees were able to return home or went to Canada and America. All in all it was a time that I would not want to relive again.

Seven years of our lives were on hold still waiting for the war to end. I would NOT want to relive this again. __________

Marcus [Mickey] Kipp

U.S. Army

My name is Marcus Kipp, I am 88-years old. I now reside in the Veterans Home of California, Chula Vista, California - a State-run Veterans Home in the State of California.

Having just completed the war in Europe, in The Battle of the Bulge, as a first gunner on an 81-mm mortar with Company “D”, 303rd Infantry Regiment, 97th Infantry Division, and having also just completed a 30 day furlough, ordered by the War Department for combat veterans, the Officers and men of the 97th division reassembled at Fort Bragg, North Carolina during the first days of August 1945.

Here we were preparing baggage and equipment for travel to Fort Lawton, Washington, to receive orientation and some more amphibious training for duty in he Pacific.

On August 6th The Army Air Corps plane the “Enola Gay” dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and three days later they dropped another bomb on Nagasaki.

There was great rejoicing by the men of the Division - beer flowed like water.

We were joyous for two reasons: [1] the war was over and [2] we would not have to go to the Pacific Theater of Operation as an amphibious trained division. It would be better to go an occupation force.

On the 15th of August units of the division started leaving for the west coast. In early September units of the division started leaving Fort Lawton and boarded ships in Seattle and sailed four Japan, not as a combat division, but as an occupation force.

August 14, 1945 had a great special meaning for me, I would be going home, for a short time, and also that my five brothers that were in the war with me had all come home safely, some of them wounded but they were alive. The family, which consisted of six boys and five girls, also rejoiced,


Ability to see my family for more than 15-days at a time; getting to swap war stories with my five brothers [one in 29th division, he landed on Normandy; one in the 26th division; one with the cavalry in Korea, one in the 144th Ordnance and one a Military police; go to extended family reunions again; no more getting up at 0530 every day; no more shivering at reveille in the morning; no more 30-mile hikes every Thursday; no more short naps where and when you could take them; no more whirring of shells overhead and deafening bursts afterwards; no more long hours on observation posts at night, hearing the screams and moans of dying comrades; sleeping in a bed, not in the mud; no sharing showers and bathrooms with 100 other men; ability to sit at a regular table and eat meals with the family. __________

Fred Ludwig


My brothers were working in the war. One of my brothers was an aviation machinist. My uncle was an officer. In someway a lot of my family was involved with the war.

I was merely a young child around nine or ten years old unsure what was going to happen next. I had been assigned to be a “lookout”. They gave me a helmet and I was meant to look for the fire patrol.

Americans dropped the atomic bomb in Japan and I knew that the war would end soon after that. It was summertime, since it was August and I remember I was with my friends. We were walking around when we heard that the war had finally come to an end on the radio.

I remember feeling tremendously happy and excited. I felt thankful to god my prayers had been answered. It was a weird feeling knowing that there wasn’t a war going on anymore. __________

Ruth Mallett


My memories of August 14, 1945 are so varied. One moment of joy and laughing, and the next moment crying.

I was caring for my little daughter when I heard the war had ended. I picked her up and joined my neighbors to see what was going on in our city. People were singing, laughing and dancing in the street. We didn't stay and join them; instead we went home to listen to the announcements on the radio.

I'm sure that there isn't one word that could sum up our thoughts. Sadness for those left behind and happiness for those coming home. __________

Shirley Mann

(Maiden Name: Batt)


I lived in San Diego all through WW11. I was raised with "blackouts" when my Dad who was our Block Warden and had to go out and be sure everyone had their black shades pulled and no light would lead a possible enemy plane to our area.

We experienced rationing of food, gasoline and even shoes! Only if you had a "ration stamp" could you even expect to purchase any of these items. The "Tooth Fairy" left Savings or Victory stamps under my pillow when I lost a tooth. Not money as is now the tradition.

My mother stood in line for hours when she heard Christmas tree lights had been obtained from somewhere. That year our tree was bright. I had several cousins and two brother-in-laws who were in the service. For the ones overseas, we often didn't hear from or about them for months.

One of my aunts was "Rosie the Riveter" at Consolidated our local air factory. My dad worked 7 days a week with no vacation for several years repairing aircraft engines. The furtherest we got from home was a campground about 50 miles away.

I waited daily to hear, on our Philco radio, Gabriel Heather tell us if there was "Good or Bad news tonight." There was through out this time an aura of intense patriotism. We were all pulling for the same thing...peace so we could sleep soundly at night.

When we heard the war was about to be over, my extended family planned a grand party. We waited patiently until that moment. What a feeling of pure joy I experienced that evening, August 1945. I thought that life from that moment would be perfect.

Of course that wasn't true, but at age ten I thought it would. I thank God that I did live through those years. I learned the definition of pride in Country, care for our fellow citizens, and the wonder of Peace! __________

Sheldon Merel

(Engineering officer on a Liberty ship), U.S. Merchant Marine

I was a 2nd Engineering officer on a Liberty Ship of the U.S. Merchant Marine that arrived at Bizerte, North Africa to deliver a load of grain. The European war had just ended, and the crew celebrated by swimming in the beautiful Mediterranean.

I suddenly had tremendous abdominal pain, and the only M.D. available was a French Foreign Legion doctor, who diagnosed it as inflamed appendicitis.

I was driven to a French Naval Hospital in Ferryville for surgery, where only the Surgeon spoke English. Since the latest medications were not available there, I spent two weeks in recovery struggling with limited High School French to communicate.

My ship consequently returned to the United States without me, and I went to the city of Tunis to await a ship home. Although I was still in Tunis, the moment my ship docked in the U.S. my pay stopped! This was the plight of being in the Merchant Marine.

Merchant Marine officers and seaman of WW II did not receive the G.I. Bill of Rights, and only after 40 years after the war, were granted Veteran Status. TOO LATE! __________

Marjory Miller

War bride (New Zealand)

I was working in overseas banking remitences at Bank of NZ, the main branch with 250 employees. We all went out on Queen Street, the main street, to cheer and hear the city bells and sirens. Everyone was elated and excited and we danced and hugged.

My fiancé, my 3rd cousin, was at Clark Field, Manilla and he was sent to Brisbane with 2 other officers to write up an evaluation of the war in the Pacific.

He went to see General Kenny and asked permission if he could make the report in 2 months instead of 3 so he could leave to be married in New Zealand. My father stated that I had to be 21 and the wedding was to be in New Zealand. My fiancé had previously sent me his parachute from Guadalcanal and a dressmaker had made my gown.

I was 21 on Sept.23, 1945 and our wedding was on Tuesday Nov. 13th, 1945. It would have been November 12 except my husband saw oil leaking out of the 2nd engine and notified the Pan Am flying boat cockpit.

The steward came to the cabin, leaned over my husband's seat and watched. Four civilian Englishmen were sitting opposite with a bottle of scotch and never offered the US Major a drop. Next came the co-pilot, smiled at the Englishmen, leaned over my fiancé’s seat for a minute and returned to the cockpit.

Next came a jovial captain, minus his cap, smiled at the Englishmen and leaned over my husband's seat for 30 seconds. Next thing the plane made a 180-degree turn back to Sydney under the Sydney Bridge. Those 4 Englishmen argued for the next 3 hours as to why the sun was on the other side.

Meanwhile, the overseas tellers had seen me waiting at the pier and went back to the bank and told them I had been held up by my Yank.

Next day when he arrived we all had smiles and I was happy, as I had waited 2 1/2 years since I had seen my Danny Boy! __________

Ann Mix

(Maiden Name: Ann Bennett)

Founder American WWII Orphans

My father, Sydney W. Bennett was killed April 19, 1945 in Mongiorgio, Italy while serving with the 10th Mountain Division, 87th Mt Infantry. He died 13 days before the Germany surrendered. The end of WWII came four months later with the surrender of Japan.

I was four and a half years old when my Dad died and almost 5 when the war ended. My mother had talked to my brother and told him our father was killed but no one talked to me, as they believed I was too young to understand.

When the Victory came, I was still waiting in my child’s heart for my Daddy to come back. We lived only a half block away from the Main Street of East Bakersfield and I remember standing on the sidewalk with my Mother and Grandmother to view the Victory parade.

We were standing in the same block that contained memories of my father: The pool hall where he liked to go off to play cards and drink beers with his buddies, and the ice cream store where we spent our “bribe” money he gave us to go home when my brother and I would go looking for him; the gas station where he found me on the passenger side running board where I had fallen asleep waiting to “go with him” if he drove away, and the Firestone Store where he worked selling tires and appliances.

I stood watching soldiers in uniform marching towards us in the parade and looking for my Dad. The last time I saw him he was dressed that way. I stared at every face but when they had all walked by and he was not there I began to cry. I clung to my mother’s leg and wailed so loud people were staring at us. “I want my Daddy,” I cried.

My mother and grandmother leaned over me and I looked up into two faces I could not read. My mother said, “I don’t know what to do with her.” They took me by the hand and marched me home. The feelings I felt that day, the outrage, loss, confusion were buried but they never died.

Grief became chronic grief buried in a hole in my being. The energy it took to keep it hidden tempered me into a seriously intense child and adult. The thread that tied me to my Father, to God, and to love was snapped. It dangled inside me, looking for something or someone to attach itself too and make me whole again.

It wasn’t until my late forties that I tried to open the short book that was my father’s life and fill in the blanks. I began to ask questions, to search for records, and look for every clue I could find.

I suddenly realized also that there had to be others out there like me, who had lost their father’s in WWII. I wondered how many were there?

Do they feel the same things? How did their lives turn out? These questions led me on a hunt and a journey that changed my life.

When I found one other American WWII Orphan by going on a local radio show, and we met, I immediately knew I had to find others and bring us together. From that experience I knew no one would understand us as well as we would each other.

I founded the American WWII Orphans Network (www.awon.org) and dedicated myself to the search for other orphans and we began coming together for the first time. The results were miraculous, and healing. We began to learn from each other, and those dangling threads began to help us find a new way to live and be in a world that had forgotten us long ago.

We all hope that when we send fathers and mothers to war in the future all the children will be acknowledged, and helped to grow-up, and that they will never again be Lost in the Victory. __________

Marv Modell

U.S. Coast Guard

The day the war ended on August 14, 1945, is burned sharply in my memory.

I received a phone call around 7 A.M from my C.O (Lt. Commander Charles, Jr.). He sounded somewhat impatient, and got right to the point: “Modell, get your ass over to 3rd Naval district office at 17 Battery Place, pick up an envelope from Commander so-and-so. Got it?” Well, I sure got it and was at 3rd Naval Dist. Office within 30 minutes, and I later placed it in Scheffler’s hands at around 8:15 A.M. I have no idea what the envelope contained, only that it was stamped with a warning…”secret material.”

I had the strong feeling something big was about to break. And DID it break! Later that day every newspaper blazed: “THE WAR IS OVER, THE JAPANESE SURRENDER!!”

For a few minutes I walked around in a happy daze. Wow! What a feeling. I kept hoping it wasn’t a dream. And it wasn’t, because I was surrounded in the street full of celebrating men, women and children. There were barn fires on street corners and at one; hysterically happy young women surrounded me. One of them grabbed my white hat and sailed it into the fire: “Sailor, you don’t need that anymore!”

A personal note here: Following the announcement that the war really ceased, I was left with feelings that were quite unusual for me. I’ve never been a professional flag-waver. But pride in my country was always part of my mind-set.

But this time, thinking of what my life will now be about, in my peacetime, I suddenly felt a real, powerful sense of pride in MY outfit, the US Coast Guard. It felt as though I had been honored just to be part of a grand and heroic group of men and women for almost four years of my life.

And if it were possible, I would have gladly shaken the hands of each and every one. __________

Rena Modell

Other (War Bond Office)

On the morning of August 14th ’45, I awoke to take care of our little baby, Joel Michael.

Marv left quite early receiving an early phone call from his Intelligence officer. He left almost immediately on his assignment.

Later that morning, with the radio on, I listened to what seemed to be an important news flash. No details, just to keep tuned for further details throughout the day.

In the afternoon, as usual, I bundled Joel in his carriage and left for a leisurely walk to the nearby park. After about one hour in sunshine, I planned to return home. When, all of a sudden, I heard yelling and screaming coming from all directions. I was sure it must have been an automobile accident or maybe, a house fire.

As I was almost home, the streets began to fill up with smiling, happy and joyful: “The war is over!” I could hardly believe what I was witnessing. Strangers hugging and kissing each other, music blaring from home and car radios. It was a time of complete joy, one that I shall never forget.

Later that day, my husband called me to confirm the good news. His words were unforgettable…”Rena, our troubles are all over. Now we can start planning for our future. We can have that vacation we’ve been dreaming about. What a day this is! See you in a couple hours. Love you.” __________

Willma Moore

(Maiden Name: Morrias)



Born: 1924

San Jose, CA
United States

Original home:
Hamilton, OH
United States

During the war, both of my brothers were drafted and stationed. My brothers kept in contact through writing letters to my mother. When the war was ending, they got out quickly.

Arthur Moore Jr., my husband, volunteered in the Army, and was assigned eastward. 17 men were selected and given the option of discharge or continue their service.

The seventeenth named called was Arthur Moore Jr. He was relieved and quickly discharged. He was in the Army for about 4 years while I was attending Ohio State University.

While my husband was in service, he obtained a high ranking. I was very happy when the war was over, and when they said “army occupation” I was worried that Arthur would have to spend more time overseas. Since he was a volunteer they let him come back home to me.

My sister had a husband in service and when she went to see him, I stayed at her home while she was away, and asked me to have one of my girlfriends; we both went to Coney Island, an amusement park. When we walked around and saw two guys laying down on the grass sound asleep. My girlfriend wanted me to wake them up and she did. They hung around all day.

The next week I was at my sister’s house, and the phone rang and it was Art calling to ask if he could come over. We hurried and had a big dinner cooked for them. I was afraid my sister was going to scold me when I had the boys over.

Arthur never spoke about his father because he was afraid that she would run away from them. He wanted to get married, but I wanted to become a hospital dietitian and had to complete my internship. My husband’s father had contacts in the University of Michigan and had a job ready for me.

My husband attended college while I completed my internship. I was 23 when we got married 5 days after I finish my internship, on my birthday. I had my first son when I was in college, and after Arthur was out of college. __________

Steven Moreno

U.S. Army, Other (U.S. Army Medic)

During August of 1945, I remembered I was in between the borders of Germany and another country when I learned the war was over. I did not return home until November of that year. It was a happy moment for many of us.

My duty, during the time, was to take care of the wounded before I shipped back home. I didn’t retain many memorable moment during that time except for the feelings I felt.

When I returned to the United States, I promised myself that the first girl I saw when I parked and step foot on ground I would kiss her. It was because I was happy and full of joy to return.

Over the years, I worked at the Tri-State Wood for 10 years and the Westing House for 21 years in Sunnyvale before he retired in 1990.

Memorable moment:
Too harsh, don’t want to remember anything that happened in Germany.

Recent generation should learn:
Don’t join the army and try to live your life as best as you can.

Audrey Mueller

War bride (United Kingdom)

I was nearly 13 years old and lived in Walthram Abbey, Essex, England. I was seven years old when WWII started and I lived through all the bombings. (We were in a suburb of N.E. London).

Everyone in the cul de sac where we lived brought out tables and chairs and all the food they could find for the huge street party. Food was scarce and rations were small.

Someone brought a can of pineapple and that was the first time I'd tasted them. There was dancing and music in the street and a young man gave me my first grown up kiss! I met my ex-husband in 1951 and married him in 1952. Things were still rationed. __________

Ruth H. Mallett

(Maiden Name: Kohnen)



My memories of August 14, 1945, are so varied.

One moment was one of joy and laughing and the next was a moment of crying. I was crying for my little daughter when I heard the war had ended. I picked her up and joined my neighbors to see what was going on in our city.

People were singing, laughing and dancing in the street. We didn’t stay and join them; instead we went home, to listen to the announcements on the radio.

My brother, Johnnie, who was in the Army Infantry and had been in North Africa, at Anzio Beach, and in Italy with General Patton would soon be home. I could hardly wait to see him.

I’m sure that there isn’t one word that could sum up my thoughts and feelings. Sadness for those left behind and happiness for those coming home. __________

Peter Natale

U.S. Army


I was a Sergeant with the 30th Signal Battalion stationed in Ardenza, Italy when the Germans surrendered in Italy in April of 1945.

Now that the conflict in Italy was over, our unit was preparing for re-deployment from Italy to the Pacific Theater of Operations on August 14, 1945 to begin taking on the Japanese.

That day, we received a radio flash that the war was over as a result of the bombs being dropped on Japan.

As a result of this information that the war with Japan had ended, our departure to the Pacific Front in August 1945 was put on hold until the Japanese officially surrendered in September 1945.

After Japan finally surrendered, I got my orders to go home in October of 1945.

I remember the dropping of the bombs on Japan in August 1945 as a blessing for the world and all of us service men. It saved countless lives and created a great many happy veterans. __________

Donavon Newcomer

U.S. Navy

My mom had just boarded a bus to return to the family home in Findlay, OH, and I was on the street-waving goodbye to her, unable to communicate the sudden outbreak of the news that WWII had just ended.

She had traveled alone from home to visit me where I was stationed at the Newport Naval Training Station, Newport, R.I. She had made this trip in spite of serious physical anomalies that required her to enter the hospital for major surgery upon returning to her home in Findlay, OH, but WWII had been traumatic for the entire family.

I was the youngest to enter the U.S. Navy after my two older brothers had already been serving their assignments, overseas. Being the youngest, my mom felt compelled to visit me in Newport, R.I. The other two could not be visited, of course. I was just 19 at the time of her visit and on the date the war ended.

Soon the downtown streets of Newport were filled with service personnel and civilians, alike, to celebrate the end of such a major war, but I watched my mom's bus disappear unable for us to share that glorious news.

The American Red Cross later contacted myself and my two brothers to arrange emergency leaves to travel home for the major surgery my mom was required to undergo. Although her condition was grave, she survived to continue with my dad to love the three of us in the years to follow until her passing in 1989.

When she first arrived for our visit, she became extremely anxious that I would not have liberty to spend time with her. When I did finally arrive, not only she broke out sobbing with relief, but all those parents at the station also sobbed with the sight of my arrival after that long wait. __________

Andrew Nezolosky

(Maiden Name: Nezolosky)

U.S. Army Air Corps

By the end of war in 1945, Andrew Nezolosky had already been discharged from the military. At the time the war ended, Andrew was in New York city, at a small event celebrating the U.S. victory.

Although his memories are murky, Nezolosky claimed, "My heart was finally at ease. America had won a war that had damaged so many souls." __________

Charles Nichols

U.S. Army Air Corps, Other (3122 Bomb Group)

In my last mission we were going to bomb a factory in Frankfurt, Germany. I remember as we were approaching there was a train full of ammunition coming form the factory. We bombed the train instead of the factory and two weeks later we returned to bomb the factory.

I was in a B-25 bomber and not to many of us made it back. I was very fortunate to survive the few missions I flew. Our escorts were P-38s fighter planes that protected us on our missions. I only flew 3 missions as a tail gunner.

I was part of the 3122-bomb group TP1 station Sheffield Airbase about forty miles outside of London.

I remember my oldest brother was in the Navy stationed on board the USS Lansdale, a destroyer docked in NYC. A few hundred miles off the coast they ran into a severe storm, during that storm he had an attack of appendicitis.

The ship was force to return to port for repairs and he was taken off to the hospital. Meanwhile, the ship left port while he was recovering, and the ship was later sunk. 47 men were killed. My brother was very lucky to miss out on the sinking.

The best news I had in my life happen when I was 19 years old when I heard the announcement that the war was over. Some one busted into the barracks shouting the war was over! We were drinking anything we can get our hands out. Dancing and partying following the announcement.

For the next few months we cleaned up the airbase to get it ready to close.

I didn’t come back to the United States until Jan 4 1946. I was discharged in 1948, and In 1949 I went to work for Clark Equipment retiring in 1989. I was married to my wife, Jean, for 51 years.

Looking back on my life, I see WWII being a very unique time. We were all together; everyone pitched in, women in factories, people volunteering for the USO. I don’t think we’ll ever see something like that again. __________

Jerome Odette

U.S. Navy

I was aboard the USS Saugatauc, AO75; we were anchored in Naha Bay Okinawa. It was about 3 or 4 AM we were sleeping on deck because it was so hot.

The shore batteries began firing their big guns. We thought we were under attack and wondered why we weren't called to GQ. Then the news came over the loud speakers that the war was over and Japan had surrendered. We then joined in with the celebration.

Shortly there after we were attacked by a squadron of Japanese planes, they bombed and sunk a Destroyer or Cruiser (don't remember which) and caused all kinds of havoc on the Island. Later either that day or the day after we again were told it was confirmed that the war was over. Instead of rejoicing we all started toward the gun mounts, saying OK Japan, come on, we are ready for this time.

But this time it was true and we all rejoiced with the thought of going home, which didn't happen for several months later. __________

Violla Orloff

(Maiden Name: Levy)

U.S. Army Air Corps

For a year, I had been stationed at Moore Field, Texas working in the radio shack days and nights in the control tower during night landing practice.

The news came over the control tower's radio, and we soon spread it all over the field. Additionally, the local newspaper had 6" headlines proclaiming the surrender of the Japanese, and stating, "Texas accepts too."

Of course those of us who were not Texans laughed about that headline, but soon joined in the celebration. I felt relief, since my husband was on one of the Marianas islands.

The next day while at work in the radio shack, I was ordered back to my barracks. My barracks buddies had packed my belongings for me. and then shoved me into a truck which took me to the railroad station.

My orders contained a promotion to sergeant and to report to Camp Beale, California's separation center, where I was assigned as secretary to General Birks. I worked there until I was discharged.

During that time, I was most honored to help process a group of Japanese-Americans from the famous unit. We were so honored by their impressive battle records that we all stood at attention as they entered the room. __________

Gwendoline (Lyn) Patrino

War bride (United Kingdom)

I was at home in Southampton England when the announcement was made on VJ Day. V.J. day was somewhat quiet in my hometown.

After VE day, and all the celebrations and thrills of that day, we were somewhat subdued. My brother and sister were both overseas in the RAF and would be coming home. Our house had been bombed and we wondered what life would be like.

But most important "the Americans will leave". How different we all were and how much they were like family now. My particular American, Lt. Ben Patrine was likely going on to Japan, and wanted us to get married before he left. I agreed but wondered when I would ever see my sister and brother again. But now going to Japan was called off!

The Americans were all feeling great but all said one more good-bye. I married Ben in November and he left for America on Christmas Eve.

How the Americans changed our lives. We often said we took bits of ourselves and swapped. Of course we were all happy it was over, but for us, nothing could live up to V.E. day. __________

Wilbur Pestell

U.S. Navy

“Liberty isn’t free, freedom isn’t free, there is a price to pay for freedom and often it is war, you know like 9/11.” That is what Wilbur A. Pasel wants future generations to remember.

As a veteran of World War Two, he was part of the U.S. Military serving as a U.S navy man, GM 3rd Class. His ship was the USS Lardner DD487. On the ship he was responsible for the maintaining one of the gunships.

He remembers that the guns were “fired often enough to be maintained”. He went to gun mate training in Idaho. Wilbur joined the Navy when he was seventeen in March of 1944 and completed his high school education through the Navy, as during the time period 19 credits were needed to graduate and he had 17 when he transferred to the Navy.

The navy gave him two credits for his two years of service. Patriotism was held in high regard and when Wilbur heard about the “bullies picking on us” after the events of Pearl Harbor on December the 2nd 1941.

When questioned about his feeling towards the end of the war Wilbur responds, “In a way it was like winning a football game, excited it was over.” He continued on to say that he was in the fleet of ships that traveled to Japan and signed the Peace Treaty on September 2nd 1945.

He commented “This is good.” on hearing the war had ended. A simple sentiment to an amazing history, “A lot of words go through your head, but I can think on one word relief” Wilbur now resides in California. __________

Lavada Peterson

(Maiden Name: Begley)

Office worker in an essential industry


December 7, 1941 will be etched in my mind forever. I can tell you every thought I had, where I was and who I was with when Japan attacked our nation.

But let us fast-forward to August 14, 1945; the day World War II ended and America declared victory. I cannot tell you where I was, or whom I was with or what I was doing. My mind has blocked out all of the happenings on that day. I can only tell you what I was feeling.

I felt lonely on August 14, 1945.

Six months before the war ended my brother, Tommy Begley, a Marine, was killed while serving in the Pacific. Whatever happened in the war after his death was still a concern for me but I did not track it as carefully as I did before his death. Our family paid the ultimate sacrifice. We would never see Tom again. My mother and dad gave their only son; my sister and I gave our only brother. There was no more to give; we had given all.

When the people of our little town celebrated our victory over the Axis powers, I was sad, maybe even a little angry knowing that Tom would not come home, but I also felt happy to know the war was over. Our country had endured forty-five months of bloodshed and sorrow. Now it was time to embrace peace. Peace at last.

The days following the armistice presented a new challenge for me. The service men started coming home. There were Tom's classmates who had served in the military, the neighbor boys who returned and tried to put their lives together again, our cousins who served in various battles all over the world, and his church friends who came up to me to shake my hand.

I was wondering how I would accept these men who escaped the horrors, the agony of death. I soon discovered these young men felt pain and loneliness just as I did.

They truly cared for their friends who were left on foreign soil, came home in a casket or lay in the ocean deep. They expressed compassion for their fallen comrades. They spoke kind words; words of understanding and sympathy. Their devotion and loyalty to those who never returned was sincere and true.

No, I cannot tell you all the details of August 14, but I can tell you of the love and sympathy of the days that followed I cannot adequately express my gratitude for their generosity, their love, and the sympathy these veterans expressed to me.

My concerns were soon banished.

August 14, 1945 was a new beginning for America.


Lavada and Tommy as children.


Tommy Begley, Lavada's brother, U.S. Marine. Killed off of Iwo Jima, February 1945.


Excerpt from telegram notifying the family of Tommy's death.


Virginia Powell

(Maiden Name: Midget)

Office worker in an essential industry

At the start of the war Virginia Powell was living in St. Louis with her husband and one year old child. There she worked as a secretary in a match company.

When the attack on Pear Harbor happened, Virginia's husband relieved notice of a draft. Shortly after in 1942 Virginia's husband was sent to Hawaii.

Virginia then spent the remainder of the war living with her in-laws while her husband was away for a total of 3 years. When notice came to Virginia that the war was over, she felt an extreme sense of happiness.

Finally the war was over and she was able to see her loving husband again. __________

Jack Pressey

U.S. Navy

Although he wanted to enter the war in 1941, his mother forced him to wait until February of 1942. He didn't think about politics, he just wanted to fight.

He served as a radio technician in the submarine service, roaming across the entire Western sea frontier during the war. The job entailed working with radar, sonar, and understanding the workings of the four engines.

Of the people he said, "If you had a problem you were out." He remembers the rationing of fresh water for washing, so the men had to clean themselves using a substandard liquid and could only rinse off the soap with fresh water. He recalls that when his submarine got word of war's end he said hi to his girlfriend and the quartermaster shot off flares to celebrate. __________

Peter Radonich


One day while we were on a routine patrol and training exercise, while we were taking this small hill, our company commander received a totally unexpected message.

President Truman had announced that one bomb dropped on a city in Japan had destroyed a city of 250,000 people. We later found out that city was Hiroshima. We also heard that a demand was sent on to Japan demanding immediate unconditional surrender.

This was great news to us; we were elated, excited and very happy. We were called off of our exercise, told what was going on and were told to regroup in a single file line, led by the scouts, for return to base. No one wanted to step on a mine or trip a booby trap at this stage of the game.

At base Thomas had acquired a short-wave radio from one of his regimental headquarters buddies, which was placed in the mess tent. This was an extremely popular place to hang out as we awaited further developments. We listened to the short-wave broadcasts out of Guam. The reception was not that good as the signal faded in and out. Many of us, me included stayed through the night waiting for Japan’s answer.

The date was August 6, 1945.

Three long days went by without an answer from the Japanese. The Americans dropped another bomb on a small Japanese city; this was Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The following day the Japanese answered, offering a conditional settlement. Their demand was that their emperor retains his power.

After three days on August 14th, the Japanese offered an acceptance of the allied peace terms. When the acceptance was broadcast we went nuts. In my judgment no single event in human history triggered such overwhelming joy worldwide.

On Okinawa where we were already training for the invasion of Japan, our happiness and relief bordered on insanity. It seems that every gun on land and on every ship around the island was firing tracer bullets into the air. We put on our steel helmets and watched this magnificent fireworks display that, like our feelings, was indescribable. World War II had ended; all that was needed now was the paperwork.

On September 2, 1945 aboard the battleship USS Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, General Douglas MacArthur signed for the allies the peace accords imposed upon Japan.

I learned much about myself during my stay on Okinawa. I had faced death, many days and nights. I survived not through superior knowledge or skill but through just plain dumb-ass luck. Being in the right place at the right time was all that was important.

I was surrounded by true heroes, who received little or no recognition. Honest, dependable loyal men who really were boys frightened to death most of the time, yet did their job the best they knew how. __________

Virginia Reynolds

(Maiden Name: Foley)

Red Cross


An energetic robin had chirped me awake early that Tuesday morning of Aug. 14, 1945, as he had done every day since June when I’d come home - at last - to those oak, elm and maple-shaded trees in beautiful Minneapolis where I had grown up.

For 2 years I’d been an American Red Cross girl serving in the 231st Station Hospital in East Anglia, that thumb in the mitten of England, and later, in a service club in Kinston-on-Thames or, as we called it then, “Buzz Bomb Alley”. D-Day had come and gone. I’d married my handsome soldier, Jack, the war in Europe had ended and I’d sailed back to America on the Queen Mary.

It should have been the happy ending to a war-time love story, but my husband was still in England and expecting to be sent out to the Pacific, for the fighting and killing there had continued in force.

I remember a quiet day. It was my sister, Margie’s day off from her volunteer hospital job and she and her friends had gone down town to do some shopping. My mother and I were chatting in our screened - in back porch as I waited and hoped for a call from London where Jack was waiting to be shipped out.

Suddenly that quiet was shattered.

“EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!” shouted those little newsboys who were sent to outlying neighborhoods to trumpet headline events – murders, cyclones, and horrific happenings. Today! Today it was different. The War? It’s over?

Mother turned the Emerson radio on to WCCO where the announcer almost roared the news. “The war is over! The war is over!”

When the phone rang, it was Daddy calling from his law office. “Mary, The war is over!” Our neighbor, Mrs. Almars hurried up our walk to ring the doorbell while her son, Buddy was shooting off his cap gun.

What a time! What relief! What memories! Oh, how I wanted to celebrate, to join in the euphoria, but my stomach was churning.

In my mind’s eye I saw our soldiers, still far from home - still in the trenches, still lying wounded in hospitals and on the battlefields.

I thought of my friends - too many friends - who would never come home again - Pete Crandal, Sid Larson, Wells Hodgson and Al Belanger who was my dearest college pal, like a brother I never had. And I thought of my husband, still waiting to come home to me.

The neighborhood cheering escalated. The phone rang again and the doorbell. Daddy drove into the driveway and raced up the steps. It was delirious and exciting and mad and my heart lifted. I looked out from that back porch of ours and there sat my cheerful robin. He had chiseled a beetle from the lawn and had flown to a low-hanging branch of the red maple.

All would be well with the world - AT LAST! __________

Anne Roders


I remember going downtown also known as Sixth Avenue in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I was 18 years old and had graduated from high school in June. I lived in an Italian neighborhood and hung around with 5 other Italian girls.

We all went downtown, stores remained open and everybody was shouting, "It's Over!” as we walked and rode around. It was very exciting and many tears were also being shed.

I considered the date (August 14) a miracle because it was the eve of the Assumption. The war started on December 7, the eve of the Immaculate Conception. Both holy days of the Blessed mother of the patroness of our country. __________

David Rossenberg

U.S. Army

Having entered military service on June 1st, 1944, David A. Rossenberg served under General Hodges 310th regiment in Germany as an infantry rifleman.

He believed WWII was a necessary war and when asked what he did, he said he was killing Germans, capturing land and heading to Berlin. On April 13, 1945 he was riding on a tank.

Shortly after the tank had entered a village, a rocket fired at them and he was hit. He lay on the ground thinking his arm had been blown off until a medic arrived and told him he still had his arm attached, and more importantly, he had a million dollar wound.

He spent the last day of the war in a hospital, where beer was given out at the good news. __________

Betty Rule

(Maiden Name: MANKER)


Well I remember V-J Day!!

I was a 21-year-old bride of 2 days. My husband was a T-5 draftee in the U.S. Infantry. He was on a short leave stationed temporarily in San Pedro California. He was on the schedule to be shipping out in 10 days to the Eastern war zone after serving almost 2 years walking, warring, starving in the German battle zones. His 30 day return from abroad service was running low when we married Aug. 12, 1945 and were on a short drive to San Francisco where we had tickets to leave for St. Louis where his family were going to meet his new bride!

We stopped in a nice, small, friendly appearing roadside bar and grill as we were approaching Palo Alto for lunch (sorry I don’t remember the name).

We were sitting at the bar having a cold beer after a hot car ride awaiting our order to arrive when all heck broke loose. The radio was playing when there came an announcement of Japan’s surrender and the war was over Horns blown, music was playing, red white and blue streamers were everywhere.

The bar tender locked the door, passed out free drinks and a wonderful gift of a pair of nylons for the women as we hadn’t been able to buy them anywhere for months. Under the bar he dug up several cartons of cigarettes that had not been seen in ages- real brands we had been used to before the war, Camel, Chesterfield, Pall Mall.

We’d become used to seeing unknown and not-so-good brands like Kools and Fatima (can’t remember any more of the unknown brands) but I do remember waiting in at least half hour long lines to get whatever brand was available for purchase.

Everything was all on the house since most of the fellows there were in uniform and were for the moment “royalty.” Instead of an hour’s break for a meal, we enjoyed a room full of laughter, fun, lots of new friends and enjoyed the noon repast party to the fullest for a couple hours.

We did eventually get to San Francisco and our train rides to St. Louis much more relaxed, happy and I was more ready to meet the new in-laws!!

P.S. When we returned about 3-4 days later and he reported back to base, he was told to turn in his newly issued suntan uniform since his assignment in Japanese area had been cancelled and his discharge would be handled in about 30 days.

It was and we began life as a happy healthy civilian couple-him working for the same old govt., but in the post office instead of the Army and me at the same insurance company as before. Just 5 months short of 50 years as a couple,

Yes, I remember V-J Day very well; thinking back on it like it was yesterday. __________

Josiah Sand

U.S. Army Air Corps

I was with the 90th Fighter Squadron, Tenth Air Force. My last job before starting the long trip home was to help in the process of getting our fighter planes up to attack the dug-in Japanese outside Myitkyina on the Irrawaddy River in northern Burma.

We had provided fighter cover for the building of the Ledo Road, and when Myitkynia, the rail head, finally fell to us, through the joint efforts of what was left of Merrill’s Marauders and Chinese troops led by General Stillwell, we linked up with the Burma Road into China, and our job there was done.

After about twenty-eight months overseas I was being rotated home for a brief furlough, expecting to be reassigned to the Pacific area and the war with Japan.

I believe the ship I was on was the General Patrick, which departed from Calcutta, went through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean. When we were close to the island of Pantellaria, our ship's radio announced that Hiroshima had been bombed, and we all cheered, because we knew the war was just about done.

A few days later there was the bombing of Nagasaki, followed before we got to disembark at Fort Dix in New Jersey, by the surrender of Japan.

They did not waste a lot of time processing us to go home, and before I knew it I was back with my family in Rochester, NY. It was a wonderful reunion, but it was a long time before I felt like a civilian again. __________

Dave Satre

Other (A five-year-old child during WW II. Served in the Army as an adult)

I was just five years old on August 14th, 1945, but I remember the day quite clearly.

We lived in a small Minnesota town with around 2,000 inhabitants out on the edge of the Great Prairie and most of our rather large family was gathered in my grandparents' family room, huddled around the radio.

We were listening to Cedric Adams, a famous Minneapolis newscaster and eagerly anticipating the long-awaited announcement of the end of the war.

What I remember most of all was the joy in the room when the official announcement of Japan's surrender was made. My dad, who was a member of the National Guard and awaiting shipment overseas at the time, was also a member of the local volunteer fire department and the driver for the town's fire truck. We ran the several blocks to the firehouse and jumped into the fire truck, with me in the front seat, and drove all over town with the siren screaming with celebration.

The town was alive with joy. People were out of their houses and celebrating in the streets. We drove that fire truck all around town, on every street, I don't know how many times. And the thing I remember most vividly, and probably the reason my memories of the day are so strong, was that I was the one who got to push the button for the fire truck’s siren. A truly exciting experience for a five-year-old kid.

I also vividly remember my grandmother's victory garden because she had insisted that I participate in its planting each year, as well as planting the seeds for a patch of Morning Glories by the back entrance to the house each Spring. To this day I remain an inveterate gardener, and I plant Morning Glories every year in memory of Grandma. __________

Edmund Schloss

U.S. Army

I was with the 3rd Armored Division in Europe. We were in combat from Normandy to Dessau, Germany where we met the Russian Army.

We penetrated the Siegfried line on Sept 13, 1944 (the first American troops in Germany). When the German army counterattacked in the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge.) in December of 1944, we were pulled out of Germany, back to Belgium to fight the enemy.

Our last day of combat was April 24th 1945, my 20th birthday. We fought the Germans thru France, Belgium and Germany.

On August 14, our division was on maneuvers preparing for the invasion of Japan. Needless to say, we were overjoyed that we would be going home rather than being moved to the Pacific. __________

Tim Scott

U.S. Navy

"29 April 1995. I was aboard the USS Shangri La CV39 and we were with the 3rd Fleet steaming off the coast of Japan. We received this message via radio & it was sent up to the signal bridge for us to send to the USS Missouri which was not to far off our stud beam. The message is from the VADM John S McCain on the Shangri La to ADM Bull Halsey. We sent it by flashing light some time during the night of 10 August 1945.

I was the Supervising Signalman on the bridge.


NOTE: Tim thought being in possession of the telegram was seriously against military conduct. __________

Edith Shain


I'm a nurse working at Doctors' Hospital in Manhattan. The radio in my patient's room is playing "Tie A Yellow Ribbon on the Old Oak Tree". My patient is taking the medication I handed to him.

The music is interrupted with an announcement that Japan has surrendered and the war is over...

I'm stunned, incredulous, and joyful. Fifteen minutes later, after removing my cap, I'm running to the subway. I get on the train to Times Square.

When I get there, I run up the steps and to the street, walk a short distance.

I'm surrounded by jubilation. Soldiers, sailors, old and young civilians. I celebrate with them.

A sailor puts his arm around me, bends me back, holds me, and gives me a long kiss. I close my eyes. When he releases me, I turn in the opposite direction and walk away.

The sailor is a symbol of all who fought in the horrific savagery of the war that shared courage, responsibility, and commitment.

We at home were with you.

Now, we are all together; the combination of all of our efforts.

Now, the empty spaces will be filled.

Now, the broken pieces will be put together.

Now, relationships will be repaired.

Now, we have peace.


The famous kiss (this view taken by U.S. Navy Photographer Victor Jorgensen).


Edith today, with fellow Stories of Service spokesperson Ernest Borgnine (Academy Award winner, WWII Navy veteran)


Bud Simmons


August 14, 1945 was my 13th birthday and I will always remember that day.

During the time of WW II my father was an Air Raid Warden in the Sunset District of San Francisco and I can remember the black outs and watching the ships go out to sea and the squadrons of airplanes leaving the bay area.

My brothers and I, two of them, keep up with the events of the war as we delivered the newspapers in the Sunset, The Call Bulletin, The Chronicle, The Examiner, and the News for years. With circulation aware we were able to visit the Hunters Point Shipyards on many occasions.

During that time San Francisco was an extremely patriotic town, on Market Street you would always see several members of each branch of the service. Market Street was a joyous place to be on VJ Day and one, which I will never forget.

We initially heard the news over the radio (no TV) and neighbors were out in the streets on the avenues. My reaction was one of great joy and thought of how great our country is, after following the advancement of our troops in the Pacific on a daily basis through the delivery of our newspapers.

Headed down to Market street and can remember of how proud I was to be an American and that has remained with me over the years.

It was just a few years later that my older brother, Ray, joined the Navy, and not long after my younger brother Jim joined the Marine Corps, and I shortly followed in the Air Force. We proudly served our country during the Korean War. Over the years I have become very active in veterans organizations, namely The American Legion, Am vets and the VFW, besides being an associate member of the MCL & VVA.

Our veterans of "The Greatest Generation" as well as the survivors of Pearl Harbor have been a great inspiration to me as well as my brothers.

I had the pleasure of meeting the Navigator of the Enola Gay,
Dutch Van Kirk as well as many survivors of Pearl Harbor and airmen of the famous "Tuskegee Airmen" –

All of them great heroes that I will never forget.

My heart felt thanks to them and those that made the supreme sacrifice -- God Bless them and our present Armed Forces. __________

Alan Singleton

U.S. Navy


Things happening around me the day WW II ended were very much influenced by what happened when Germany surrendered some four months earlier.

That event caused the disbanding of the Atlantic Fleet anti-submarine squadron where I was assigned for my War up to that April day.

We were told that we were to undergo a psychological screening to determine our fitness to move into the Pacific war. At the time, my wife (carrying our first child in her third trimester) was with her parents in Vallejo, CA.

After screening, I was sent to an Advanced Training School in Norman, OK. I was diligent in my studies for the six months long series of classes in Aircraft Maintenance, and doing well. I think it was a sunny Wednesday when the door to my class on engine theory flew open.

Someone yelled, "The War is over! The War is over! Liberty for all hands!" There was a brief stunned silence, then an increasing murmur. The instructor called us back to order, then said, "Class dismissed! You heard it. Liberty for all hands!"

With that, he left the classroom and we all walked (not marched) hurriedly back to our barracks. Amid much noise and confusion, we cleaned up and dressed for liberty.

Norman was not much for a liberty town, so I caught a base bus for Oklahoma City. When we got into town, heavy celebrating was already going on. So much so, that we were not able to get to the normal stop area due to all kinds of congestion. The bus driver just stopped where he could and let us out to walk the remaining distance, while he went back to the base for another load of sailors.

I walked to a pub/bar called Daisy Mae’s to get a beer (Oklahoma was a "dry" state). I was a bit puzzled by the apparent gridlock of the area. Approaching Daisy Mae’s, I noticed cars and trucks were randomly stopped helter skelter, some with one or more doors open.

I even saw a trolley car stopped, partly rounding a corner, doors open, air compressor running, but no sign of an operator or passengers. Crowds were milling about all over the place whooping, yelling and singing, but oblivious to the abandoned vehicles, some still running!

People were hugging each other, slapping one another on the back, even kissing total strangers of the opposite sex with abandon. Then I noticed that this "dry" state seemed to have produced bottles of alcohol in the hands of many citizens!

When I got into Daisy Mae’s, it took a while to get that beer, as there was quite a crush of people, in and out of uniform. The waitress and civilian women were kissing every GI in the place! I got kissed many times, don’t know how many, but getting a second beer was proving difficult.

I made my way out the door and over to a restaurant that was quieter. I just wanted a quiet place to digest all that I was seeing and hearing. I still couldn’t believe the War was over, and began to wonder what was in store for me. I still had two years to go on my enlistment!

Several people congratulated me, and made all kinds of favorable comments. I don’t recall whom, but someone bought my meal. By the time I finished eating, it was dark, but the celebrating was continuing. I walked back to where the bus turned around and went back to the barracks, almost stunned by the thoughts on how my life was going to change.

It seemed almost imponderable, but I was beginning to feel great relief! __________

Elizabeth Sivret


I was living in Atlantic City, New Jersey and was working in a restaurant as a waitress. The city was filled with soldiers as all the hotels were being used for the recuperating soldiers. I lived with my Uncle and Aunt who owned a bar that was very popular with the soldiers.

On August 14th, 1945, I was playing shuffleboard with some of the soldiers in my Uncle's bar. Someone came in and said to turn on the radio, and we heard the news that the war was over. People in the bar went wild; we were shouting and hugging each other.

I remember a lot of the soldiers were quiet and said nothing, almost like they were in shock. There were many soldiers there who had come back from Europe and were preparing to go to the Pacific to fight. No one was expecting the war would be over so quick.

If I had to describe what I felt in one word, it would be disbelief. __________

Gladys Smith

War bride (Australia)

My husband Lloyd M. Smith was a WWII veteran. He served in the Army, MacArthur’s Headquarters Radio/Cable.

I know exactly where I was on VJ Day, August 14, 1945. I was working in a Dress Shop named Clair's Dress Shop on Queen Street Brisbane. People were blowing car horns.

There was a hardware store across the street, where I had a friend who worked and he gave us whistles. All the stores closed up. We got on the back of a big truck and we rode around until they ran out of gas. Then we would get on another. The town and people just went crazy. The trams were loaded with people hanging off of the sides in happiness.

I had 4 brothers in the service, so that meant to me that they would be coming home. My husband-to-be was in Manila and was not sure he would be able to get back to Brisbane for us to be married. We were lucky and he was given leave to come down.

It was touch and go as when he got to Tacloban Phil. he was bumped by a higher-ranking officer. He saw an Aussie courier plane and asked if they were going to Brisbane. For a carton of American cigarettes, he got a ride in the jump seat.

We had all the wedding plans and were scared he would not make it. He arrived on November 9th and we were married the next day. We had 50 years, 11 months and 1 day together. We had 5 children, 6 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.

I am one of the lucky war brides who had a wonderful husband. We took 2 trips together and I have been back 9 times. __________

Ted Snyder

U.S. Marine Corps

I was a Marine stationed in Guam on August 14, 1945. My memory is hazy and I don't recall any celebrations. We were not sure when or where we would be moving to. We had assumed that if the war had continued, we would be going to Japan. Instead, we went to China to disarm the Japanese troops there. __________

John Speight

U.S. Army Air Corps

After attending aerial gunnery school in Las Vegas Nevada and school of radio operator’s mechanics in Sioux Falls South Dakota, JC Speight arrived at the embarkation lactation at Sutton Hotel in New York.

He flew to Foggia Italy via North Africa where he was assigned to the 2nd bomb group, 15th air force as a B17 Flying Fortress radio operator. On his 50 missions in 1944 his plane was damaged almost every flight and two of his crew members died, but he was the first in his team to finish the 50 mission mark. His crew was called Virgil's Virgins after their sergeant, Virgil F Murry, and because none of the group had experienced combat.

On his missions there were many close calls, such as a replacement tail gunner losing his oxygen supply and passing out, and a replacement waist gunner killed by a large piece of flak to the back of the head. Speight had a good friend, Richard Ercole Ferro, who shared a similar world-view and who was only three days younger. Ferro died on his second to would be last flight when a neighboring B17 shot by flak veered up and down into his plane.

Despite these tragedies Speight believes that everyone should have had the chance of being drafted because the experience of war "makes or breaks you." He said the guys who went into service came out better men.

He himself had signed up for the draft a year older than he actually was. He had entered the National Guard at age fifteen during peacetime before going into the army air corps. He served in the military a total of 38 years.

One of the most fulfilling moments of the war for Speight was flying home liberated POWs in Bucharest Russia on the Eastern front. He landed and took off from a small, bumpy, fighter plane strip two days in a row, contributing to the freeing of over 100 POWs. Speight called WWII "the most exciting time in my life." __________

Florence Sprague

(Maiden Name: Muniz)

Cadet Nurse Corps

I was in Atlantic City, New Jersey, serving as a Cadet Nurse for the Thomas M. England General Hospital.

That morning, I was just going about doing my regular routine and helping the 21 year old quadriplegic I was assigned to work with. It seemed that it would be a regular day, no different than any other.

However, we received the news that the war ended at around noon.

At the time, I was pouring meds (getting the medications ready for the patients), and we could not believe what we were hearing. The war had finally ended!

As I walked down the hallway, I could see people hugging, calling their friends, and throwing items into the air with extreme joy. I could sense the jubilance that the hospital suddenly had, and many people would go to the chapel to pray for this symbolic day. It was a sleepless night!

If I could choose one word to describe my feelings at the time, I would choose sadness. I was sad because thousands of men from both sides would lead terrible lives because of the war. I was sad because of all the unnecessary deaths that this war caused, and I realized that even though there was much happiness in the hospital at the time, after the patients were to be released, they would live lives filled with sorrow and pain.

For future generations, I would like to say that there has to be another way to solve social and political issues that we are facing today. War is not the only way to solve these problems, and we need to implement this mindset into our society. By working around war, we can live in a more peaceful society amongst different races.

In closing, I would like to say that if anyone could walk through some of the wards that I walked through (where paraplegics and other patients were present), they would not even consider war as an option for solutions. __________

Lillian Swink

War bride (United Kingdom)

I was kissing my husband Ron Swink goodbye. We were just married 3 weeks prior and on VJ Day, he got orders that he was being sent to Japan.

We only had a short time to talk because Ron was driven to my house in a jeep full of other men and they waited outside. Next they headed straight to the port.

For me, our time that day was too short. He was going so far away and we'd had so little time together. It was almost terrible and certainly heartbreaking. I know that my family worried for Ron after the war, but it was all we could do.

In the end he was restationed to Paris, and shortly after that, came back to England. __________

Margaret Synder

Cadet Nurse Corps

I was a senior member of the Cadet Nurse Corps and preparing to take the Colorado State Board nursing exam to become a register nurse (RN). I was working in a clinic for the Colorado Springs health department and was driving a health department vehicle.

I first got the urgent call from the central office telling us the peace treaty had been signed. Since we were a few miles from Camp Carson with 50,000 soldiers, they were sure the streets would fill and they wanted us to shut down the clinic and get the department car back to the garage as soon as possible.

As I remember they were correct. The streets filled and I spent the next two hours going down side streets. to safely get the car back. The car had identification on the sides. People kept trying the handles to get in and slapping the sides of the car.

When I turned it in at the garage I was nervous and in no party mood, so I quickly walked the four blocks home. __________

Maya Torngren

War bride (Germany)

I am a German War Bride. I was 16 years old when the war was over. For us it was May 1945 (V-E Day).

When I talk with my American Friends, all I could say was, "I wish I could have been there with you!!!" __________

Al Tschaeche


As a 16-year-old boy, my WWII experience was as a civilian. On Tuesday, August 14, 1945 I was vacationing at our farm. My grandfather was listening to a battery-powered radio and told me about the news.

His reaction and mine were both one of relief, joy, and hope for the future. We told my grandmother and she was ecstatic. We couldn't get enough of the news on the radio. We had friends in the service and now we would be able to see them soon.

No more blackouts. No more ration stamps. No more 45 MPH limits for the car. We could get new tires. We could throw away our toothpaste tubes again. We could get nylons for my mother.

Maybe we could get electricity in our farm house. We heated with wood; cooked with gas, used candles and kerosene for lights and pumped water from our well for drinking. We caught rainwater in barrels for washing.

We lived near a big river so we could use that water in dry years although it was a long way up from the river to the house.

And we waited in happy anticipation of seeing all our military men in the near future.

One word: relief.

Shigeo Uchino

U.S. Army

I was drafted on May 10, 1945 and sent to Schofield Barracks, near Wahiawa on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. I was assigned to a special company composed of Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA).

We received basic military training in the morning and took Japanese language lessons in the afternoon. In early August 1945 we were training for landing operations at a beach near the barracks. We were told that the training was to prepare us for a landing on mainland Japan

On August 14, 1945, we were told that Japan had surrendered and World War II was essentially over. We were overjoyed that war with Japan was finally over.

Following the Japanese surrender, our landing operation was curtailed and I was given two options--I could go to the U.S. mainland to attend more advanced Japanese language classes, or I could be assigned to overseas duty. I elected to be sent overseas.

On August 20, 1945 I and seven other AJA soldiers flew out of Pearl Harbor on a seaplane and went to Guam, where we stayed for a month. Our ultimate destination, however, was Nagasaki, where our Japanese language skills would be put to good use. Though World War II had ended, my job with the army had just begun. __________

Layton Warn

U.S. Army, U.S. Army Air Corps

I was a medic at Barksdale Field on August 14, 1945, the day when WW II ended. I was one of the lucky ones in a fairly safe environment compared to so many that were risking their lives daily. Still, I was as glad as most to have the war ended.

On December 7, 1941, I think I heard the first bomb of our engagement in the war while in Wheeler Field, Territory of Hawaii, which was right in the path of the incoming Japanese planes.

On my birthday, August the 4th, 1945, the war had been going on for over three and a half years. Germany had been defeated, but the Japanese showed no sign of ever surrendering, so the country was looking forward reluctantly to a major invasion of Japan; a task that it was commonly estimated would probably take a million lives on both sides.

In addition, the Soviets were acting as though they would not go home unless they could take everything with them. It seemed probable that we would see nothing but war for years to come. The future did not look bright.

Then, two days later, came the astounding news that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima. Surely, this would end the war - we thought. But the Japanese seemed not to notice, and the war went on as usual. The dropping of a second bomb three days later didn’t seem to get any reaction either.

Finally, on the 14th, came the Japanese surrender! The war was over!

That evening, as I was preparing to join the world’s greatest celebration, already in progress, I saw plane after plane coming in for a landing.

It seemed symbolic.

They had no purpose any more.

None of us did.

I was a civilian in a month and a day. __________

Bob Whiting

U.S. Navy

I worked in a Navy hospital as a corpsman in San Bernardino and later in Riverside. There was a big hospital there and I cared for a lot of patients. The hospital had a radio outside and we heard the broadcast. The war was over.

Everyone went running out to the eating area. We were all so excited but at the same time very solemn. We knew we would remain in the hospital working for 6 months to a year because our patients needed us. It was quiet in the hospital. I was happy because I lived with the knowledge that I could have been shipped to the war zone at any time. But now that was over and I was relieved.

I was fortunate in my stay in the Navy. After I was discharged I went back to my job at the Standard Filling Station and that is when I met Marie. She was working in a store that had a soda fountain where I would go to buy ice cream cones. She was not happy that I kept asking if I could drive her home.

But finally she gave in and I took her home in my old Ford with the cloth rumble seat. We fell in love rapidly and after a summer romance we were married in September.

We lived in Arcadia while I attended Pasadena City College and USC on the GI Bill. I taught school and 3 years later became a principal. We have 5 children and have been happily married for over 63 years. __________

Cyril Williams

U.S. Army


Cy Williams at Fort Stevens Oregon as a Corporal in 1942.

I was in a hospital in England when the European Theater War ended with the surrender of Germany. While there, a newspaper headline, reported the development of the atomic bomb.

I soon returned to my unit in Germany, a Third Army Maintenance Company in support of the 80th Infantry Division. I stayed in contact with the personnel of that unit for some time, and I could almost recall the name of all 165 of the men.

Indications were that many units in the European Theater would rotate back to the States to prepare for the final stages of the Pacific Theater of Operations.

When that failed to materialize in our case, my “after action” mind kicked in and I started contemplating my next move to peacetime pursuits.

I wondered what the impact on the American economy would be with millions of servicemen looking for new careers or their pre war jobs, if they were still there.

I wondered what I could do to qualify for the new “GI College Tuition Bill” as I did not take the college prep courses in High School. I wondered where I should return to in the States, having to choose between where my wife was in Seattle and hometown in Salem, Oregon. I even wondered if I should write a “Dear Jane” letter to the wife and go back “home.” I worried about being able to buy civilian clothing. (That was difficult for more than a year after the war).

Probably could not buy a car or tires if you already had access to a car. Where was I going to find a place to live? Sure could not move back in with my parents.

As it turned out, the GI Bill created the doctors, lawyers and executives of all types. Some of us stayed in the Army, eventually retiring. Cars and clothing to include white shirts were scarce. I chose the wrong town. After the second marriage, the Army became my place to settle. I am now 87 and “stuck” in a retirement home.

I often wished I had not overlooked the chance to prepare a list of all 165 men I served with showing their selection of an address to which each interested man could send a letter with hopes it would be forwarded. As it is, I only stayed in contact with about three. Have regretted that as the most negative memory of the war, for we all went our separate ways and there could have been valuable exchanges of information. __________

Luise Van Dyne

War bride (Japan )

We were foreigners growing up in Japan. My father was Estonian and ran a very successful business. However, in 1943 he had to give up his business and move to the country. I was a student at that time.

On August 14, 1945, we were living in the mountains nearly starving. About noon we all went to listen to the radio. The announcement had been made by the Emperor of Japan to surrender.

The reason we almost starved was because the local police didn't recognize our nationality and would not give us food stamps for rations.

When we heard the war ended, my brother and some of his friends went down to the police station to kill the chief of police! But it was too late, they had already fled.

Those K-rations tasted so good! __________

Catherine VA

(Maiden Name: Florence)

U.S. Army

Our woman Captain told all the Cadet Nurses that we were only allowed to date officers and there were many more non-coms than officers.

Noncommissioned officers, coined “non-comes”, were ordinary soldiers. If we were caught dating non-coms, our woman Captain warned us that we would be pulled out of the Cadet Nurse program. However, while I was there, I was able to find a way to make the non-com patients and myself happy.

I remember the first time I took out a badly injured non-com patient to the movies. I could tell he was very pleased because this little trip gave him great happiness. Although there were times of happiness, there were also times of sadness as well. When our captain found out that we were dating non-coms, she threatened to pull us out of our Nursing schools.

Luckily, the first non-com that I dated had a highly ranked father who intervened on my behalf, and reported the woman Captain to the commanding officer of the hospital. From that day on, the hospital changed their rules, allowing the nurses to date non-coms at any time, and I was granted immunity from getting kicked out of Nurses training by my commanding officer.

Even though I put my neck on the line for the non-coms, I do not regret it at all, because I was able to help boost their morale, and give them memories that they will not forget. __________

Jerry Yellin

U.S. Army Air Corps


Jerry's P-51 taking off from Iwo


Phil Schlamberg, lost over Japan on the day the war ended.

My memories of August 14, 1945 are very clear. I flew P-51's from Iwo Jima over Japan during WWII as a 21-year old Captain and Flight leader.

On August 6, I returned from a mission when LT. Phil Maher jumped on my wing and shouted, "We dropped one bomb and wiped out a city, it's over!"

There was a sense of relief in the entire squadron. No more 8-hour missions. No more guys being killed. We had survived. Our motto "Back Alive in 45," seemed to have been fulfilled.

But it wasn't to be.

A notice was posted in the ready room on August 13, with our assignments for the next day's mission. The briefing would start at 1600 hours.

Major Jim Tapp, squadron commander, stood in front of the map of Japan and started to talk, "Why another mission?" someone called out.

Tapp responded, "We have to keep them honest. We will take off at 0800 but I doubt we will reach the target before the war is called off. If you hear the code word OHIO, we will abort the mission and return to HOTROCKS (the code name for Iwo Jima)."

I was scheduled to lead Blue flight. Phil Schlamberg, a 19-year old pilot from Brooklyn, NY, was my wingman. Schlamberg, sitting next to me, leaned over, and said, "Captain, if I go, I won't come back."

Startled, I said, "Why?"

"Just a feeling I have."

When the briefing ended, I approached Tapp, told him what Schlamberg told me and asked if there was a replacement.

"There isn't anyone to take his place, Jerry. Doc Lewis can get him off if there is a medical reason and Schlamberg agrees," Tapp replied.

When I asked Phil, he said, "No way."

On the morning of the mission, I told Phil, "Just stay close on my wing, tuck it in tight, you'll be OK. We will probably abort before we reach the target."

No one heard the code word before we dropped our wing tanks and started strafing airfields near Tokyo. Phil was on my wing while we strafed our targets and on my wing when we started back. I gave him a thumbs-up and led the flight into some clouds. When we emerged into clear skies, Phil was gone, no radio transmission, no visual contact, just gone.

When we landed back at Iwo, we learned that the war had been over for three hours while we were over Japan.

In my mind Phil Schlamberg was the last man killed on a fighter mission over Japan and may very well have been the last man killed in combat in a war that took the lives of 60 million people.

POSTSCRIPT - I knew 16 young men who were killed during the war. I hated the Japanese all of my adult life. Then I attended a wedding in Japan on March 6, 1988, between the daughter of a Japanese Imperial Air Force veteran and my youngest son, Robert. This wedding between children of former enemies made me rethink, not only my life as a warrior, but also the lives of all of us who served in combat.

Today I have three grandchildren living in Japan, aged 19, 17 and 13. They love me, I love them. I can't help feeling that all of Humanity is the same that the pure purpose of war is to kill and the pure purpose of life is to connect to all of Nature.

It is up to the young people of our World to find a way to eliminate War and find a way to live in Unity with all of Humanity, in Harmony with Nature and find Peace for our Planet. __________

Eron Zackoski

Other (Aviation Machinist, First Class)

On August 14, 1945, I was aboard my ship, and we were on our way to Pearl Harbor. At the time, I was a First Class Aviation Machinist. When I heard the news that the war was over, I felt sadness. After that day, I went back home to my wife, and we had a baby 1 month after peace was declared.

The reason I wanted to become an Aviation Machinist is because I have had a love for airplanes ever since I was a little kid, and I wanted to help our country defeat our enemies. I stayed as an Aviation Machinist for the next 44 years, and after I retired, I had 4 kids and we lived near a lake in Minnesota.

I now reside in the Regency, located in San Jose. If I could describe August 14, 1945 in one word, I would say it was sadness.