Remembering the End of WWII

Recollections 75 years later — from Floridians who lived it


CHOOL HISTORY BOOKS LAY OUT THE FACTS in a dry, rote formula of name-date-place. The presentation style makes it fodder to memorize just long enough to answer a quiz and then forget the information:

  • Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) was May 8, 1945;
  • Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day) was Aug. 15, 1945;
  • World War II officially ended when Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, and General Douglas MacArthur accepted it, aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945.

Yet behind the dry historical facts exist vivid stories — the memories — of lived experiences. And these aren’t the experiences lived by famous generals and foreign ministers but rather by friends, neighbors, grandparents and other everyday folks. Institutions such as local museums, media outlets (Florida Weekly included) and even senior living communities work to help preserve and share these memories before the people who lived them are gone.

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