August 15, 1945 – On this day, 72 years ago, the party wasn’t about to let up. VJ Day, although officially declared as August 14th to commemorate the actual acceptance of terms for the surrender of Japan, was now spilling over onto the 15th, as millions of people throughout the world celebrated the end to one of the worst wars in history. All the pent-up anxiety and emotion which began in Europe in August of 1939 and spread to America by 1941 was now over. For the first time in years, peace had finally come. The war was now over.
So every city, town and village of the United Nations went into victorious overdrive – people spilled into the streets. From New York City to Los Angeles a blizzard of confetti reduced visibility to zero – spontaneous dancing, strangers wrapping arms around each other, kissing and hugging. It was one of the few times in our history where most everyone felt the same way at the same time.
All regular programs via Radio were pre-empted for reports, filed by hoarse, hungover and frazzled journalists and announcers as even the networks gave over to the continuous. ongoing celebration.
This 15 minute excerpt of what became a 48 hour marathon, comes from NBC Radio, who had been on-and-off delaying and preempting programs since the initial rumors of surrender, starting on August 10th.
Of course, not everyone was giddy with elation – there were those, the families, husbands, wives and friends of those who weren’t coming back – who had been killed fighting this war, or were laying in hospitals, never to be the same again. For them it was a time of remembrance and reflection – of sacrifice.
A reminder that America and the Allies had given much to defeat the forces of Fascism and Nazism – the wounds and scars are still around, these 72 years later. But on this August 15th in 1945, it was a day to breathe a sigh of relief that hatred didn’t prevail, and never would.
Here is that broadcast, starting at 1:00 am on August 15, 1945 from NBC Radio.