Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 11 September 2009 00:00
Sixty-four Years Ago Japanese Formally Surrendered
Joseph Smolenski, the CEO of the New Hyde Park Funeral Home, held a moving VJ Day ceremony to remember the end of WWII with the victory over Japan.
Smolenski said, “The war in the Pacific was devastating and the battle long and bloody. The U.S. military was slowly progressing on Japan island by island. But resistance was fierce and casualties numerous.
“The U.S. had developed the atomic bomb in hopes it would convince the Japanese to surrender. They didn’t and on Aug. 6th, 1945 the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Instead of surrendering, the Japanese debated what step to take so on Aug. 9th another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.
“On August 14th Emperor Hirohito cabled the U.S. to surrender in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration.
“Therefore on this date, September 2, 64 years ago aboard the USS Missouri, the Japanese formally surrendered in Tokyo Bay. (The USS Missouri was chosen because then President Harry Truman’s home state was Missouri.)
Smolenski continued, “Every generation contains the potential for greatness. For the generation that came from the Great Depression that potential was realized on the battlefields during WWII. Had they failed the test of greatness we would be living very different lives today. To all our good fortune they did not fail and instead triumphed.
“We acknowledge their accomplishments, honor their memory and celebrate the end of WWII.”
The list of casualties from WWII from New Hyde Park was read including: