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August 14, 2013

V-J Day emotions captured in note 68 years ago

Teenager wrote down her feelings during war

(Continued)

August 14th, 1945

This is one of the greatest days of my life: the end of the greatest and most horrible war the world has ever known. The radio has been on every minute of the day. I ironed today and listened to all the news leading up to the great news of 6:00 p.m.

After 6:00 there were no regular programs, just more news. We heard from New York (Times Square), Washington, Hollywood, San Francisco and China Town, Des Moines, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit and from Paris, London, Guam, 3rd fleet off the coast of Japan and several other places.

All the places were celebrating alike — blowing horns, shouting, throwing paper and confetti, and just tearing up jack. Several cars went by headed for Anderson and they all made so much noise. So much else has happened today, too: Petain was sentenced to death for treason.

And after the great news, the announcement which said that 5 million men would be released from service within a year from now, President Truman announced that tomorrow and Thursday are to be legal holidays and that no one need go back to work either day.

Now to enumerate things as they happened today. First when I got up this morning it was gray and cloudy out. I found that news had been received around 2:00 this morning that Japan was sending a message to America. Not much more was heard until there was the broadcast from Bern, Switz., around 3:00 saying that a message had been received from Japan containing several thousand code words. It was turned over to the Japanese ambassador and then to the Swiss chancellor. Then it was put into 160 diplomatic code words and sent to the Swiss embassy in Washington in 12 minutes — the Japanese have surrendered unconditionally.

It was the words that the people all over the world have been anxiously awaiting for several days. I can’t express in words the great contentment and peace that settled on me when I heard those words. I hadn’t realized how anxious I had been. From the broadcasts from various cities several different persons were interviewed. One drunk soldier, “Do you know what I’m going to do? When I get sober I’m going to go to church and thank God that this was is over and that I’m alive.”

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