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    July 4 / August 14

    July 4 / August 14

    Reader TowsonLawyer writes:

    Just in time for the Fourth of July – Lost Film from 1945

    Here’s the story from Richard Sullivan:

    67 Years Ago my Dad shot this film along Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki capturing spontaneous celebrations that broke out upon first hearing news of the Japanese surrender. Kodachrome 16mm film: God Bless Kodachrome, right? I was able to find an outfit ( to do a much superior scan of this footage to what I had previously posted, so I re-did this film and replaced the older version There are more still images from this amazing day, in color, at


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    scfanjl | July 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm


    Your humble and obediant servant.
    My wife’s uncle [Stanley Day] was in the Navy in 1941, stationed in Hawaii. When the Japanese struck, no one knew what had happened to him. There was very limited telephone service and no internet since Gore was too young to have invented it. It took agonizing weeks to learn that he was OK. Her Father was in the Merchant Marine Service and survived many trips across the Atlantic. He was too old for the Navy or other branches of the Military, so he volunteered for the Merchant Marine. I am proud to have married his wonderful daughter.

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Towson Lawyer. | July 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks for the inclusion of The Merchant Marines who are too often unheralded. The British Merchant Navy suffered such huge attrition rates to the Ubombs so that 17 year olds were manning the decks.

      Thanks be to the Canadians who came in to help with a rickety & inexperienced navy but their corsairs were a mighty help. . Without them the convoys would have been totally decimated & the only supply line cut .

        TrooperJohnSmith in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | July 5, 2012 at 12:10 am

        Poor Bomber Command suffered an incredible rate of 74% killed, wounded, missing, POW or removed due to LMF. Then, when it was all over and everyone saw the terrible carnage wreaked by area-bombing, only Bomber Command was denied a campaign medal by the new Labour Government.

        Growing up, a good friend’s father crossed from Michigan to Canada in 1940 to sign up for the RAF. Even after her was reassigned to the USAAF after the US entry into the war, he stayed on operations with Bomber Command, though he was rated a Lieutenant from Flying Sargent. He flew 40 Operations in Wimpys and Halifaxes, went to an HCU as instructor cadre for eight months. Then, he came back as a Pathfinder in Canadian-built Lancasters and flew another 54 missions before he broke both legs crash-landing a damaged, fuel-starved Lancaster at of all places, and 8th Air Force B24 base. And… the guy who loaded him in the “meat wagon” was from his home town of Ypsilanti and knew some of the same people he did!

        God Bless the British for holding the line for two, terrible years!

    TrooperJohnSmith | July 4, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    My father was at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, getting ready for the Olympic portion of Operation Downfall. He had just donated a pint of blood, knowing full well he might get it back when they invaded the homeland. After the horrible battle at Okinawa, few of them had any illusions about getting back home again.

    Also, the guys getting ready to invade Japan were starting to hear complaints from the guys in Europe – especially the late-1944, early -45 replacements – who might have to sit occupation duty. They were also reading the news stories and hearing radio broadcasts from back home about the growing cries for peace from a population horrified by the Iwo Jima and Okinawa casualties.

    There was also a growing division at home between the families of those who’d served in Europe, who thought their boys had ‘done their part’ and those folks who had boys in the Pacific, some of whom had made several major landings, and thought that troops from the ETO should be moved to the westpac for the Japan invasion. Truman and Marshall also knew that the USA was running out of manpower (almost one-fourth of the Depression-era recruits were unfit for service due to poor diet and medical care). No one was prepared to draft men over 30 with families. In short, the USA in September 1945 was, war weary.

    Dad said that a lot of them wept and prayed when they found out it was over. He said celebrating was tempered by looking at the holes in their original ranks. It was overwhelming, he said, to be old at 21, and a fugitive from the law of averages. In their minds, they’d been handed a sudden reprieve, and it’s hard to cheer when so many close pals are dead.

    Yes, we grew up only hearing the stories of how simple and good things were then, but when we looked at their eyes and saw them under pressure, did we realize our fathers were forged of different stuff than we were. Only when he saw his own death coming closer did Dad really spill what he’d had inside of him all those years. I feel eternally privileged that he did.

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