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Celebrating This V-J Day

Posted by on May 30, 2017

August 15 and 18, 1945. Dad writes two letters home to his family from Guam “to let you know I am O.K.”

He notes the time as 10:45 AM on the letter that he writes on the 15th. It appears that his work schedule has been abnormal as he writes, “Got through with work around 5:30 AM today and went to Mass at 6 on account this is a Catholic Feast Day. At 9:30 AM the news as to Japan’s surrender was made official. Last night or yesterday afternoon at 3:58 PM, our time here, we did get news from Japan on the radio but it wasn’t official from U.S. so we just sweated it out and things went on as usual. The first negotiations regarding peace came in at 11:30 PM last Friday evening but nothing further developed so we went back to sleep. Well now that the war is over, and I hope Stanley is still somewhere in the States, I’ll be darned if I know just what they’re going to do with us. Rumors are floating around as they generally do. Maybe censorship will soon be lifted and then maybe I can write an interesting letter.”

He continues, “You’ll probably want to know how the fellows here are celebrating this V-J day. So far there is no official celebration. Here and there around the camp several cheers went up. There’s some liquor around. Nobody is drunk, as far as I know. Our barracks radio is going full blast but at the present they’re playing some sentimental swing songs. Yesterday, listened to the Japanese hour where as usual they read letters supposedly written by American prisoners in their PW camps. Today they’re silent. Never did hear Tokyo Rose as I wasn’t around when she had her two cents to say.”

Dad writes about something else he did hear on the radio. “Heard on the radio where only fellows under 26 will be drafted which should be good news for you Ann. I know how Eddie must have felt and I’m sure he would have liked to have gotten into the middle of this war. That’s how I felt about two months after Stanley entered the service, but as years pass by things are forgotten and ten years from now this war will be remembered just as World War I is remembered now.”

Before closing the letter, he addresses a portion of the letter directly to his sister. “Ann, Stanley says you wanted some information on the women here. Well, all of them are practically Catholic and they are very much American. The young girls wear American dresses as you can see in the Life magazine issue of July 2, 1945. They are clean-living people and eager for the American way of living. No, they do not walk around half-bare. The older women go in for dresses with big puffed up sleeves above the elbows with the most showy bright colors for dressing themselves.”

Photo spread in the July 2, 1945 issue of Life Magazine describing the natives on Guam.

Before getting back to the letter, if you want to read the text block from the Life magazine article above, click here. To see an enlargement of one of the photos showing “the natives”, click here.

In his letter of Saturday the 18th, Dad writes that he is listening to Hit Parade on the radio and the music has put him “into a Saturday evening mood…now that the war is over. …Finally were going to have a day off each week after not having a day off for about 2 months.” He picks up on the theme of what might happen next addressing rumors and acknowledging “the most thorough truth is that I’ll be here for quite a while yet.”

He writes that he “slept all day after working my last night, now…I’ll be working during daytime.”  He writes that he “had an offer to be a Supply Sergeant for the outfit which I turned down on account I’m satisfied doing clerical work in the Engineering Department where you don’t have very many bosses and you can get the work out the way you think is best. I had no complaints so far and they’re still hanging onto me…”  He continues, writing, “A lot of promotions for fellows came through yesterday making for merriment of those who advanced a rank and for those who didn’t, a lot of muttering.”

He writes that the weather has been “cool…with intermittent rains accompanied with lightning resembling the kind of rainy days and nights back home except that I’m here and not home.” As far as the rain on Guam, “it’s like a flood except this one flows in a vertical downward direction from the skies.”

Before signing off on the 18th he asks about his nieces. “How’s Judy getting along? And Terry? And both of them together? Swell, I hope.” He then closes, “hoping they decide to get rid of all of us here and send us back to the States.”

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