VJ Day 70th Anniversary
Kiss Me Once Again
With these words, on August 14, 1945, in perhaps the understatement of the twentieth century, Emperor Hirohito of Japan announced his nation’s unconditional surrender to allied forces, marking the end of the greatest conflict the world has ever known.
What followed were two days of massive celebrations around the globe. Of all the photographs taken during these heady times, none is more emblematic of the jubilation than the image of a sailor embracing an unsuspecting nearby nurse in the pandemonium of New York’s Times Square.
On August 16, 2015, The Michigan WWII Legacy Memorial held a remarkable celebration of the 70th anniversary of VJ Day and the end of WWII.
The festivities were hosted by US Air Force veteran and Fox 2 Detroit Chief Meteorologist Rich Luterman. Attendees were greeted by Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison and special written messages from Governor Rick Snyder, State Senator Mary Knollenberg and State Representative Jim Townsend were read.
The program continued with addresses marking the significance of the day and readings of excerpts from historic speeches and documents from the end of the war by VIPs such as L. Brooks Patterson and State Representative Christine Greig.
Click here for details on this entire program, including original recordings of some of these speeches by Harry Truman, Douglas MacArthur and others.
Next, Harold Lanning of the WWII Special Service Entertainment Branch regaled the crowd with stirring renditions of the American and Canadian national anthems just as he had performed for troops 70 years ago.
In one of the highlights of the day, the crowd then recreated the famous photograph of the war’s end by holding up versions of our recreated newspaper headlines.Then we were treated to live swing music from The Masters of Music Big Band.
As the flyover concluded with a “missing man” formation, we were reminded of those who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 255 and the Windsor Veterans Memorial Services Committee presented the American and Canadian colors and the Berkley American Legion Post 374 provided a rifle volley salute. Then Bill Rosnyai, veteran of the European Theater of Operations and Andy Coubrough, veteran Pacific Theater of Operations presented wreaths marking our link in the chain of a worldwide ceremony to mark this occasion.
We are grateful to WROK, Royal Oak’s Municipal Access Cable operation, for producing this special broadcast of the event.
In addition, the local media provided outstanding coverage of the event before and afterwards. Click here to see the coverage. So, thanks to all those outlets as well.
Click here for more pictures of the event.
Click here to hear a recording of Harry James and Kitty Kallen performing “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” the inspiration for the name of this event.Thanks to all who celebrated with us.
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