WWII Memoirs – Aug. 10, 1945 – It’s Over! The War’s Over!

When the Armed Forces Radio announcement of Japan’s surrender hit the Island, people ran out of their tents shouting, “Its over! the war’s over! the war’s over….”

Simultaneously, a barrage of gunfire erupted all over the Island, tracer bullets criss-crossing the night sky like a big-city fireworks. Only this one covered much of a huge island. It was an awesome and thrilling sight. This spontaneous release of emotion signaled the end of nearly four years of death and destruction, of grief and endless anxiety, and of years of being away from home.

But as much as my tent-mates and I wanted to join in this thunderous celebration, we headed for the air raid shelter. We knew that all the “fireworks” was created with “live” ammunition, and that it was going to land somewhere. Air raids had made us wary of falling flack (fragments of spent antiaircraft shells). On two occasions, after actual air raids, we found pieces of shrapnel sticking in the “roof” of our tent. “Friendly fire” came in different forms, all of them deadly.

We had survived the last several months in a war zone, and we wanted to continue our good fortune. We would do our celebrating when we got back to the States.

However, tonight everybody could entertain plans and hopes for the future because as the popular wartime song promised:

“when the lights go on again all over the world And the ships will sail again all over the world Then we’ll have time for things like wedding rings and free hearts will sing When the lights go on again all over the world”

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