R.I. last state still marking V-J Day

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
R.I. last state still marking V-J Day

R.I. last state still marking V-J Day - Yahoo! News


PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Church bells rang. Whistles at fire stations and mill factories sounded. People poured into the streets, waving flags and honking car horns. It was Aug. 14, 1945 — the day Americans learned that Japan had surrendered, ending the costliest conflict in human history.

"It was pandemonium with happiness," remembered John Lucas, a World War II veteran and executive secretary of the Pawtucket Veterans Council.

On Monday, Rhode Island will once again observe the end of World War II, the only state still celebrating Victory Day, commonly referred to as Victory over Japan Day, or V-J Day.

Critics say it's discriminatory, and would like to eliminate the holiday or at least remove its reference to Japan.

They point out that Rhode Islanders do not celebrate the U.S. victory over Germany, which was defeated three months earlier.

"This is a stigma against the Japanese whom we do business with and are allies," said George Lima, a former state representative who worked on a failed attempt to eliminate the holiday in the 1980s.

Veterans groups remain committed to the holiday, celebrated on the second Monday of August.

"This is the way the veterans feel about it in Rhode Island," said George Panichas, a former legislator who was a gunner on a B-17 bomber during World War II. "They fought against the Japanese, and they just don't forget it."

There have been several attempts to change the holiday's name, but each time lawmakers met overwhelming opposition, said state Sen. Rhoda Perry. She introduced bills in 1992, 1994 and 1995 to change the holiday to Rhode Island Veterans Day. A second 1995 bill would have changed it to Peace and Remembrance Day.

Perry said she received "vitriolic" mail from veterans.

"It was absolutely a no-winner," Perry said. "I did not have support, period."

However, the General Assembly passed a 1990 resolution stating that Victory Day is not a day to express satisfaction in the destruction and death caused by nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

People need the holiday to remember the sacrifices veterans made during the war, said James Brennan, a survivor of the 1942 Bataan Death March in which Japanese soldiers tortured and killed thousands of American and Filipino prisoners.

However, Brennan said he does not harbor ill feelings toward the Japanese and does not believe the holiday incites racism or hatred.

"July 4 is our national holiday because we defeated England. Do we hate the English? No," he said. "It's the same with V-J Day. We are the ones who won the war."

Joe Davis, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Washington, said he is glad Rhode Island has kept the holiday.

"Rhode Island is continuing to celebrate a great victory at a tremendous cost," Davis said, noting the deaths of about 400,000 Americans in World War II.

Arkansas is believed to be the last state to drop Victory Day. When the legislature listed official state holidays in 1975, it omitted Victory Day, which it had called World War II Memorial Day, state capital historian David Ware said. The holiday appears to have been omitted without much fuss, Ware said.

"What happens over time is that people's memories fade," said Marilyn Zoidis, a curator at the
Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. "If there's not a strong enough memory to support a holiday, there's no strong reason to keep funding it."

That's what some hope will happen in Rhode Island.

Mikki Lima, a Japanese-American who runs the Rhode Island Japan Society in Providence, said she is working to educate younger Americans about Japanese culture. If the holiday can't be eliminated, she hopes it can at least be celebrated under a new name because of Victory Day's implicit reference to the victory over Japan.

"Someday, this foolish holiday's name will be changed," Lima said.
What those liberals dont realize is V-E day was the end of the war in Europe. There was still three more months of fighting in the Pacific.

Obviously she was asleep in school during that lecture.
As the generation that fought the war dies off, the generations that follow it will reinterpete to suit their political perspecitive. Rhoda Perry is just the first in a long line that will rewrite history. She was unsuccessful. But she was only the first of many.

Be very aware of political correctness/revisionist history in the future. It is not enough to just be pissed off about it, you have to combat the ignorance with facts, figures and details. Knowledge and information is the only way to combat revisionist history. Most of the people on this board are going to be the ones doing the work, like it or not (and most of us would really rather not but that is the price of an education).

Good luck guys!

Off the Soap Box
Considering their absymal record of Japan ignoring, minimizing, evading and creatively modifying their part in WW 2 history why should we worry about VJ Day?
From one point, I can KINDA understand where the Japanese-Americans and German-Americans are coming from in protesting the victory days, because they have pride in their nations. However, what they must realize is that neither nation was the kind that they would have supported back then, at least thats the hope. I hate to be callus, but if they moved to the US then they should deal with the fact that the Allies DID win WW2, and that nothing can change that. At the very least they should let the holiday continue in R.I., but if it were up to me I would make it a mandatory holiday accross the US. Everyone, on both side, lost loved ones and to NOT commemorate their hardships, victories, and losses would be criminal. My grandpa was in the war, and he is with a group of veterans in his area trying to get their local government to allow a day off for both VE and VJ days. My grandpa saw some action in both fronts on board a cruiser, and lost friends on both fronts, so its important to him to remember the sacrafices that were made.
lesofprimus said:
Maybe they would rather have preferred Japan winning the War???

Probably so. Felling that "everyone one will feel like a winner...":rolleyes:

Had 4 great uncles to serve in WWII and had one who served as a Combat Engineer in the Soloman Islands and the Phillipines. Had one great-uncle to die in Belgium, March 2nd, 1945, leaving behind two small daughters and bleed just so these liberals can try to make us forget about our accomplishments in WWII.
Winners? The Marshall Plan rebuilt German and Japanese induistries to levels better than that of the US in that all the tooling, production machinery and everything else was decades more modern than in America.

If we'd left them to make it or break it or sought ot extract revenge as WW 1 victors did there'd be no Japanese car industry in the US, no electronics like Sony or any of the rest. VW would be the only car manufacturer to survive there- cheap cars for poor folks! They'd both have emerged from the WW 2 recovery period about 1980 without our $$$ Too bad we didn't modernize US industry for free beginning in 1946!
The black and white of win or lose should be explored at greater length. Especially since Japan, truly won the war in the reprospect of our position 60 years later. Germany could have emerged an economic power if they weren't sliced and diced up by the Ruskies stunting their economics for several decades due to the fact that there was only half a country left.

Economics is paramount in war. We continually say that the Allies won because of the massive manufacturing capabilities enjoyed by the US and Russia. Japan won the war in the long run using the conflict as a stepping stone to economic wealth production unimaginable if they had never gone to war.

Just as we recognize the seeds for contempt were sown for WW 2 after WW 1 by revenge-seeking countries such as France that kept Germany in poverty as punishment, we must realize that the opposite course pursued by the US made Japan one of the wealthiest nations on the planet.

Had we subjugated Japan and treated it with disrespect they'd have tried again to become a hostile power. The numbing anti-west Soviet influence in East Germany kept the pot boiling there where there wouldn't have been a problem had Germany been united and encouraged as an economic partner.

Peacetime economics was a large part to blame for Germany's attitude and the acceptance of Hitler's rhetoric after having been subjugated by foreigners. Hence WW 2 partly grew out of economic factors such as the European Allies keeping Germany oppressed and the US using economic sanctions against Japan.

So while the battles may have been won by the Allies, Japan won the war in the long run. They have nothing to complain about in my opinion.
Japan truely won? There isnt a shred of evidence to back that up.

They have a strong economy, but it is still dwarfed by that of the US. And if anything, their rise of as a global economic power forced the US to improve productivity and made us even stronger.
Yeah, not so sure the Japanese won WW2 (or the Great Pacific War, closer to the mark). While the rebuilding of Japan (in part fueled by the Korean war and too a lesser extent, the Vietnam War) was a miracle that was helped along by the US, the Japanese get the lion's share of the credit for building themselves to the standard they now enjoy (Germans as well).

The point that the US saw them better as strong allies than as conquered subjects is a far better one. Both nations were more effective as contributors to a global, relatively free, economic boom that occured after the end of the war. The inverse of that was found in the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. There, the Soviets took what they wanted and built the odd military base. But then again, putting a Communist (command) Economic system up against a Free Market system is like putting a Model T up against an Indy Car.

Can't see where the Japanese won the war. Won the peace, maybe. But so did a lot of other countries (US, Canada, Germany, Italy, ect) that are now far better off than they were in 1945 visa vie the standard of living and GDP.

Also far more open political systems than in the past. Winners all around.
I say they should make it a national US holiday. I wish they would bring it in in Australia a VJ day. Although unfortunately it would be too unpopular in Sydney and that, but then they chose to come to Australia...

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