Author Archives: Sandy Shinn

Loretta Marie Davidson

Loretta Marie Davidson, 85, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on Thursday, February 6, 2020, at Unity Point Health-Allen Hospital in Waterloo. 

Loretta was born on February 2, 1935, at her childhood home in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the daughter of Homer Hilton and Lauramae Marie (Neuenkirk) Towsley. She attended Cedar Falls schools until she married Robert Davidson on August 11, 1952, at the Little Brown Church in Nashua. They later divorced after 30 years.  Loretta graduated from Vista High School in Vista, California in 1953. Robert and Loretta spent two years in California and returned to Waverly, IA after the Korean War. She worked for Control-O-Fax in Waterloo for 31 years until retirement in 1997. She then went to Hawkeye Tech and got a CNA license. For five years, she worked for Cherry Street Home Health Care in Shell Rock. Afterwards, she volunteered at the Waverly Senior Center at which time she was awarded the Governors Volunteer Award in 2010.  

She was a member of the Amvets Ladies Auxiliary where she served as the past president. She enjoyed her family the most, but also enjoyed reading, crocheting, gardening, playing 500 cards and bingo at the Waverly Senior Center. 

Loretta is survived by her two daughters, Debra (Erwin) Mills of Waterloo and Lorie (Robert) Huffman of Waverly; her granddaughters, Dana Heath Taylor of Longview, Texas; Lorna (Sean) Huffman Acker of Britt; Lisa Huffman of Des Moines; and a grandson, Ryan Ebaugh of Longview, Texas; six great-grandchildren, Brittany and Jacob Taylor, Ryan Ebaugh Jr., Jonah Ebaugh, and Nicholas and Lucas Huffman; and two great-great-grandchildren, Brayden and Clarity Taylor. She was preceded in death by her parents, and her brothers, Edward and Robert Pittman. 

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Marianna Trerotola

Marianna Trerotola, 92, of Edina, Minnesota, and formerly of Waverly, Iowa, passed away on Sunday afternoon, January 19, 2020, at Aurora on France Senior Living in Edina, where she lived for the last two years to be closer to her son and daughter-in-law.
Marianna was born March 21, 1927, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the daughter of Roland and Jane (Eccles) Merner. Marianna graduated from Cedar Falls High School in 1945, attended the College of William and Mary for two years, and finished her education at the University of Iowa where she graduated in 1949. She received her Master of Education degree from the National College of Education in Evanston, Illinois in 1958. While in Evanston, Marianna met Dr. John F. Trerotola and they were married on August 14, 1965, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. 

Marianna’s teaching career took her around the country including Coronado, California, Keokuk, Iowa and St. Louis, Missouri. Her final position was at the National College of Education, where she taught in their kindergarten lab school and in the Teacher Preparation Program. Marianna retired to raise her son, John J., who was born in 1967. The family then moved to Waverly in 1972. After her impactful career, she continued her passion for travel with family or friends as well as enjoyed biking, cross country skiing, and volunteering in the community. She especially relished the time she spent with John J. and Beth in Waverly, Minneapolis and all over the globe. 

She was a longtime member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, PEO and was a member Alpha Delta Pi in college. Because of her devotion to Cedar Falls and Waverly, she regularly supported endeavors in both communities.  

Marianna is survived by her son, John J. and Beth (Tatinski) Trerotola of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was preceded in death by her parents, Roland and Jane Merner; her husband, John F. Trerotola; a brother, Bill Merner and many close family and friends. 

A visitation will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 24, 2020, at the Kaiser-Corson Funeral Home in Waverly. Marianna’s burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 25, 2020 in Harlington Cemetery, Waverly. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Waverly with Rev. Maureen Doherty officiating with a reception to follow.  

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Military History – February 2020

The earliest military action to be revered with a Medal of Honor award is performed by Colonel Bernard J.D. Irwin, an assistant army surgeon serving in the first major U.S.-Apache conflict. Near Apache Pass, in southeastern Arizona, Irwin, an Irish-born doctor, volunteered to go to the rescue of Second Lieutenant George N. Bascom, who was trapped with 60 men of the U.S. Seventh Infantry by the Chiricahua Apaches. Irwin and 14 men, initially without horses, began the 100-mile trek to Bascom’s forces riding on mules. After fighting and capturing Apaches along the way and recovering stolen horses and cattle, they reached Bascom’s forces on February 14 and proved instrumental in breaking the siege.

The first U.S.-Apache conflict had begun several days before, when Cochise, the Chiricahua Apache chief, kidnapped three white men to exchange for his brother and two nephews held by the U.S. Army on false charges of stealing cattle and kidnapping a child. When the exchange was refused, Cochise killed the white men, and the army responded by killing his relatives, setting off the first of the Apache wars.

Although Irwin’s bravery in this conflict was the earliest Medal of Honor action, the award itself was not created until 1862, and it was not until January 21, 1894, that Irwin received the nation’s highest military honor.

*Article courtesy of

Military History – January 2020

Operation Thunderbolt, also known in China as the Defensive Battle of the Han River Southern Bank was a US offensive during the Korean War.
It represented the first offensive under the new commanding officer of the 8th US Army, General Matthew Ridgway. It started less than three weeks after the Chinese Third Phase Campaign had forced UN forces south of Seoul.
Thunderbolt was preceded by Operation Wolfhound, a reconnaissance in force by the 27th Infantry Regiment ‘Wolfhounds’ that began on 15 January 1951. At this time the Chinese forces in the central sector were still in possession of Wonju and a full assault could not be made until this sector was under US control. Thunderbolt itself began on the 25 January, when troops of I and IX Corps advanced from the western sector of the front northwards towards Seoul.
This attack was heavily supported by artillery and air support, in accordance with Ridgway’s policy of attrition by superior firepower against a numerically superior foe. By 9 February, the offensive had reached the Han river with the rest of the Chinese defenders retreating to the north of Han River by the end of February.
X Corps, once again part of the 8th Army, held the central sector and moved forward as Operation Roundup on 5 February. Responding to the UN advances, Chinese forces under Peng Dehuai then counter-attacked as the Fourth Phase Campaign, achieving initial successes at the Battle of Hoengsong.
Chinese forces were later held off at the Battle of Chipyong-ni and the Third Battle of Wonju. The concentration of firepower and reliance on close air support in the face of large numbers of light infantry employed here would later become an influence on US doctrine during Vietnam.
Thunderbolt was followed almost immediately by the second UN counter-offensive, Operation Killer.
*For more on this subject see the full article for Operation Killer at

Military History – December 2019

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack, also known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor, led to the United States’ entry into World War II. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.

Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions they planned in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. Over the next seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time (18:18 UTC). The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft (including fighters, level and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk. All but the USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. One hundred eighty-eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, dry dock, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section), were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed. One Japanese sailor, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured.

The surprise attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day, December 8, the United States declared war on Japan, and several days later, on December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. The U.S. responded with a declaration of war against Germany and Italy. Domestic support for non-interventionism, which had been fading since the Fall of France in 1940, disappeared..

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JoAnn Laura Ihde

JoAnn Laura (Vossberg) Ihde, 79, of Plainfield, Iowa passed away on Sunday, November 10, 2019, at the Shell Rock Care Center after an extended illness. The family will greet friends from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, November 15, 2019, at Kaiser-Corson Funeral Home, Waverly, Iowa, she will then be cremated.  Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, November 16, 2019, at First Baptist Church in Waverly, IA.  A private family burial will occur at a later date.  JoAnn was born May 7, 1940, the daughter of Clarence and Laura (Kirkpatrick) Vossberg in Finchford, Iowa.  She was the oldest sister of Bill and Betty.  JoAnn spent days with her grandparents, Henry and Clara (Jergens) Vossberg, growing up around Finchford, Waverly, and rural Bremer County.  She attended country school and graduated from Plainfield High School, Plainfield, Iowa in 1958 as the salutatorian. 

JoAnn was united in marriage to Ron Ihde on February 28, 1960. They eventually made their home in Plainfield.  Together, they had 5 daughters.  JoAnn ran the household while Ron traveled to build churches and DX stations.  After the girls were in school, they purchased the grocery store in Plainfield in 1972 and JoAnn ran the store for a number of years.  Additional work history included grocery retail, selling insurance with Ron, tax preparation, actuary, and nursing home/elder care.  JoAnn was also vital when 4 of her daughters battled breast cancer. Her other “known” profession was shopping—often times she would know how much the items in her cart cost within pennies. 

JoAnn’s other talents included sewing, cooking, baking, knitting, crocheting, cleaning, and finding just the right presents for the kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, and great-great-grandkids. She loved everything about gingerbread men and was an avid reader, especially enjoying Amish Christian novels.  She loved making fudge and always was ready with soup and cookies for everyone.  She always took time to write letters and send cards to her friends and family members.  JoAnn was a long-time member at Horton Baptist Church in Horton, Iowa and First Baptist Church in Waverly, Iowa. 

Left to cherish her memory are her husband of nearly 60 years, Ron, daughters, Elizabeth Henninger of Plainfield, IA, Gretchen (David) Nelson of Mount Morris, IL, Christine (David) Young of Shellsburg, IA, and Nadine (Douglas Johnston) of Colorado Springs, CO. Grandchildren, Ashleah (Kurt) Graves of Plainfield, IA, Lynseah Henninger of Oelwein, IA, Leevi Henninger of Oelwein, IA, Brittany (Nate) Drozd of Mount Morris, IL, Craig Nelson of Washington, D.C., Zachery Freeman of Dixon, IL, and Andrew Freeman of Platteville, WI.  Great-grandchildren,  Lacey Graves, Isabella Reints, Carly Graves, Addylan Graves, Karver Graves, Keen Graves, Paityn Berry, Mossyn Berry, Annabelle Drozd, Lauren Drozd, and Natalie Drozd.  Great-Great-granddaughter, Scarlet Phillips. Siblings, Bill Vossberg of Aredale, IA and Betty Vossberg of Prairie du Chein, WI.  And many other Vossberg and Ihde relatives and friends. 

Those who will greet JoAnn in Heaven are her parents, in-laws, Marvin and Grace Ihde, and daughter, Jennifer Fluck. The family would like to thank the kind caregivers of Shell Rock Care Center and Hospice Compassus.

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Military History – November 2019

The United States Marine Corps traces its roots to the Continental Marines of the American Revolutionary War, formed by Captain Samuel Nicholas by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress on 10 November 1775, to raise two battalions of Marines. That date is regarded and celebrated as the date of the Marine Corps’ birthday. At the end of the American Revolution, both the Continental Navy and Continental Marines were disbanded in April 1783. The institution itself would not be resurrected until 11 July 1798. At that time, in preparation for the Quasi-War with France, Congress created the United States Marine Corps. Marines had been enlisted by the War Department as early as August 1797 for service in the new-build frigates authorized by the Congressional “Act to provide a Naval Armament” of 18 March 1794, which specified the numbers of Marines to recruit for each frigate.

British and American troops garrisoned aboard Hornet and Penguin exchanging small arms musket fire with Tristan da Cuna in the background during the final engagement between British and American forces of the war.

The Marines’ most famous action of this period occurred during the First Barbary War (1801–1805) against the Barbary pirates, when William Eaton and First Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon led eight Marines and 500 mercenaries in an effort to capture Tripoli. Though they only reached Derna, the action at Tripoli has been immortalized in the Marines’ hymn and the Mameluke Sword carried by Marine officers.

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Arthur Clark Simpson

Arthur “Art” Clark Simpson, 77, of Waverly, Iowa, passed away in his home on Tuesday evening, October 22, 2019, with his family at his side.               
Arthur was born on December 25, 1941, in Waverly, Iowa, the son of Iva Beatrice (Helgerson) and Earl Leroy Simpson.  He graduated from Waverly High School in 1961. While working for the City of Waverly, he began his lifelong career in law enforcement by joining the Waverly Police Department in 1964. He later graduated from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.  
Arthur joined the United States Army on June 12, 1967, serving two tours in Vietnam starting on river patrol and soon being promoted to Military Police Sergeant and APC commander. Upon returning to the United States, he carried out the remainder of his military service in South Carolina as a military investigator and was honorably discharged on March 3, 1970.  At the conclusion of his military service, Art returned to Waverly and joined the Bremer County Sheriff’s Department serving as Chief Deputy. At a time when deputies had to provide their own cars, he became well known among local law enforcement for racing other agencies to the incident scene in his white 1971 Pontiac Grand Prix. On May 13, 1972, Arthur was united in marriage to Karen Hankes in Charles City, Iowa.  In April 1978, he again joined the Waverly Police Department, accepting the position of Chief of Police, a position he proudly served until his retirement in December 2005.             

Art was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Waverly Historical Preservation Committee, Waverly Design and Beautification Committee, Waverly Amvets Post #79, VFW Post #2208, Bremer County Peace Officers Association and Iowa Police Chiefs Association.  Art was a humble man who had a true love for people and highly valued the friendships he had built throughout his life and career. In law enforcement, helping others was his greatest reward. Art preferred conversation to confrontation and believed in respecting others unconditionally. He was guided by the Golden Rule. He believed in doing what’s right by your family and your job. During his time as the Sheriff Department’s Chief Deputy, he enjoyed traveling the roads of Bremer county getting to know it’s residents. As Waverly’s Police Chief, he cared deeply for his police department staff and enjoyed making his daily rounds to various city offices visiting with the staff there as well.  He took a true interest in the lives of those that he came in contact with and went out of his way to bring a smile or laugh to someone’s day. Art took great pride in his hometown of Waverly and its residents.   

Art enjoyed a diverse variety of hobbies and interests. He loved history and collected antiques throughout his life.  Art was a car enthusiast since childhood and admittedly enjoyed anything with wheels and an engine. He collected art from local artists and loved music from all genres. He enjoyed traveling and at a young age, developed a love for the mountains of Colorado.  He enjoyed numerous trips with his family out west over the years lured by the natural beauty of its landscape and wildlife, soaking up the history of the region each time. With a great love for the outdoors, he was a preservationist by nature. Art had a strong appreciation for city, county, state and national parks enjoying them by hiking, bicycling, watching wildlife or simply soaking in the peace and tranquility of nature.   

To Art, there was no such thing as a stranger and, after a few minutes of conversation, could spark a connection with nearly anyone.  No matter where he went, whether it be a vacation trip, a meal out to eat, a walk around Waverly’s Midwest Horse Sale, or a quick stop at the post office, Art could find something interesting about anyone and make a friend. He was truly interested in people and their stories and valued those relationships to the end.   

Arthur is survived by his wife of forty-seven years, Karen; son, Jeff of Prescott, Arizona; brother, James (Vicki) of Elk River, Minnesota; sister-in-law, Doris Simpson; and two brothers-in-law, Dennis (Linda) Hankes and David (Margaret) Hankes.  He was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Richard, Earl Jr.; and sister, Carolyn in infancy. Arthur Simpson was a loving husband, father, brother and uncle, a loyal friend and a dedicated public servant.    

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Military History – October 2019

Operation Linebacker

Operation Linebacker was the codename of a U.S. Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 air interdiction campaign conducted against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) from 9 May to 23 October 1972, during the Vietnam War.

Its purpose was to halt or slow the transportation of supplies and materials for the Nguyen Hue Offensive (known in the West as the Easter Offensive), an invasion of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) by forces of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) that had been launched on 30 March. Linebacker was the first continuous bombing effort conducted against North Vietnam since the end of Operation Rolling Thunder in November 1968.

Operation Linebacker, the designation for the new interdiction campaign, would have four objectives: to isolate North Vietnam from its outside sources of supply by destroying railroad bridges and rolling stock in and around Hanoi and northeastward toward the Chinese frontier; the targeting of primary storage areas and marshalling yards; to destroy storage and transshipment points; and finally, to eliminate (or at least damage) the North’s air defense system. With nearly 85 percent of North Vietnam’s imports (which arrived by sea) blocked by Pocket Money, the administration and the Pentagon believed that this would cut its final lines of communication with its socialist allies. The People’s Republic of China alone shipped an average of 22,000 tons of supplies a month over two rail lines and eight major roads that linked it with North Vietnam.

On 10 May Operation Linebacker and Operation Custom Tailor began with large-scale bombing operations against North Vietnam by tactical fighter aircraft of the Seventh Air Force and Task Force 77. Their targets included the railroad switching yards at Yên Viên and the Paul Doumer Bridge, on the northern outskirts of Hanoi.[38] A total of 414 sorties were flown on the first day of the operation, 120 by the Air Force and 294 by the Navy, and they encountered the heaviest single day of air-to-air combat during the Vietnam War, with 11 North Vietnamese MiGs (four MiG-21s and seven MiG-17s) and two U.S. Air Force F-4s shot down. Anti-aircraft artillery and over 100 surface-to-air missile firings also brought down two U.S. Navy aircraft.

By the end of the month, American aircraft had destroyed 13 bridges along the rail lines running from Hanoi to the Chinese border. Another four were destroyed between the capital and Haiphong, including the notorious Thanh Hóa Bridge. Several more bridges were brought down along the rail line leading to the south toward the DMZ. Targets were then switched to petroleum and oil storage and transportation networks and North Vietnamese airfields. There was an immediate impact on the battlefield in South Vietnam. Shelling by PAVN artillery dropped off by one-half between 9 May and 1 June. This slowdown was not due to an immediate shortage of artillery shells, but rather to a desire to conserve ammunition. U.S. intelligence analysts believed that PAVN had enough stockpiled supplies to sustain their campaigns throughout the autumn.

The intensity of the bombing campaign was reflected by the sharp increase in the number of strike and support sorties flown in Southeast Asia as a whole: from 4,237 for all services, including the VNAF, during the month preceding the invasion, to 27,745 flown in support of ARVN forces from the beginning of April to the end of June (20,506 of them flown by the Air Force). B-52s provided an additional 1,000 sorties during the same period. The North was feeling the pressure, admitting in the official PAVN history that “between May and June only 30 percent of supplies called for in our plan actually reached the front-line units.” In total, 41,653 Linebacker I missions dropped 155,548 tons of bombs.

In addition to interdicting the road and rail system of North Vietnam, Linebacker also systematically attacked its air defense system. The North Vietnamese Air Force, with approximately 200 interceptors, strongly contested these attacks throughout the campaign. Navy pilots, employing a mutually supporting “loose deuce” tactical formation and many with TOPGUN training, enjoyed a kill ratio of 6:1 in their favor in May and June, such that after that the North Vietnamese rarely engaged them thereafter. In contrast, the Air Force experienced a 1:1 kill ratio through the first two months of the campaign, as seven of its eventual 24 Linebacker air-to-air losses occurred without any corresponding North Vietnamese loss in a twelve-day period between 24 June and 5 July. Air Force pilots were hampered by use of the outdated “fluid four” tactical formations (a four-plane, two element formation in which only the leader did the shooting and in which the outside wingmen were vulnerable) dictated by service doctrine. Also contributing to the parity was a lack of air combat training against dissimilar aircraft, a deficient early warning system, and ECM pod formations that mandated strict adherence to formation flying. During August, however, the introduction of real-time early warning systems, increased aircrew combat experience, and degraded North Vietnamese ground control interception capabilities reversed the trend to a more favorable 4:1 kill ratio.

Linebacker saw several other “firsts”. On the opening day of the operation, Navy Lieutenant Randall H. Cunningham and his radar intercept officer, Lieutenant (j.g.) William P. Driscoll became the first U.S. air aces of the Vietnam War when they shot down their fifth MiG. On 28 August, the Air Force gained its first ace when Captain Richard S. Ritchie downed his fifth enemy aircraft. Twelve days later, Captain Charles B. DeBellevue (who had been Ritchie’s backseater during four of his five victories) downed two more MiGs, bringing his total to six. On 13 October another weapons officer, Captain Jeffrey S. Feinstein, was credited with his fifth MiG, making him the final Air Force ace.

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Military History – September 2019

Victory over Japan Day (also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, V-J Day, or V-P Day) is the day on which Japan surrendered in World War II, in effect ending the war. The term has been applied to both of the days on which the initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made – to the afternoon of August 15, 1945, in Japan, and, because of time zone differences, to August 14, 1945 (when it was announced in the United States and the rest of the Americas and Eastern Pacific Islands) – as well as to September 2, 1945, when the signing of the surrender document occurred, officially ending World War II.

August 15 is the official V-J Day for the UK, while the official U.S. commemoration is September 2. The name, V-J Day, had been selected by the Allies after they named V-E Day for the victory in Europe.

On September 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan, aboard the battleship USS Missouri. In Japan, August 15 usually is known as the “memorial day for the end of the war” (終戦記念日, Shūsen-kinenbi?); the official name for the day, however, is “the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace” (戦没者を追悼し平和を祈念する日, Senbotsusha o tsuitōshi heiwa o kinensuru hi?). This official name was adopted in 1982 by an ordinance issued by the Japanese government.

Events before V-J Day

On 6 and 9 August 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 9, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. The Japanese government on August 10 communicated its intention to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, but with too many conditions for the offer to be acceptable to the Allies.

The news of the Japanese offer, however, was enough to begin early celebrations around the world. Allied soldiers in London danced in a conga line on Regent Street. Americans and Frenchmen in Paris paraded on the Champs-Elysées singing “Don’t Fence Me In“. American soldiers in Berlin shouted “It’s over in the Pacific”, and hoped that they would now not be transferred there to fight the Japanese. Germans stated that the Japanese were wise enough to—unlike themselves—give up in a hopeless situation, but were grateful that the atomic bomb was not ready in time to be used against them. Moscow newspapers briefly reported on the atomic bombings with no commentary of any kind. While “Russians and foreigners alike could hardly talk about anything else”, the Soviet government refused to make any statements on the bombs’ implication for politics or science.

In Chungking, Chinese fired firecrackers and “almost buried [Americans] in gratitude”. In Manila, residents sang “God Bless America“. On Okinawa, six men were killed and dozens were wounded as American soldiers “took every weapon within reach and started firing into the sky” to celebrate; ships sounded general quarters and fired anti-aircraft guns as their crews believed that a Kamikaze attack was occurring. On Tinian island, B-29 crews preparing for their next mission over Japan were told that it was cancelled, but that they could not celebrate because it might be rescheduled.

Japan’s acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration

A little after noon Japan Standard Time on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito‘s announcement of Japan’s acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration was broadcast to the Japanese people over the radio. Earlier the same day, the Japanese government had broadcast an announcement over Radio Tokyo that “acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation [would be] coming soon”, and had advised the Allies of the surrender by sending a cable to U.S. President Harry S Truman via the Swiss diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.  A nationwide broadcast by Truman was aired at seven o’clock p.m. (daylight time in Washington, D.C.) on August 14 announcing the communication and that the formal event was scheduled for September 2. In his announcement of Japan’s surrender on August 14, Truman said that “the proclamation of V-J Day must wait upon the formal signing of the surrender terms by Japan“.

Since the European Axis Powers had surrendered three months earlier (V-E Day), V-J Day was the effective end of World War II, although a peace treaty between Japan and the United States was not signed until 1952, and between Japan and the Soviet Union in 1956. In Australia, the name V-P Day was used from the outset. The Canberra Times of August 14, 1945, refers to VP Day celebrations, and a public holiday for VP Day was gazetted by the government in that year according to the Australian War Memorial.

Public celebrations

After news of the Japanese acceptance and before Truman’s announcement, Americans began celebrating “as if joy had been rationed and saved up for the three years, eight months and seven days since Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941” (the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), Life magazine reported.  In Washington, D.C. a crowd attempted to break into the White House grounds as they shouted “We want Harry!”.  In San Francisco two women jumped naked into a pond at the Civic Center to soldiers’ cheers. More seriously, thousands of drunken people, the vast majority of them Navy enlistees who had not served in the war theatre, embarked in what the San Francisco Chronicle summarized in 2015 as “a three-night orgy of vandalism, looting, assault, robbery, rape and murder” and “the deadliest riots in the city’s history”, with more than 1000 people injured, 13 killed, and at least six women raped. None of these acts resulted in serious criminal charges, and no civilian or military official was sanctioned, leading the Chronicle to conclude that “the city simply tried to pretend the riots never happened”.

The largest crowd in the history of New York City‘s Times Square gathered to celebrate. The victory itself was announced by a headline on the “zipper” news ticker at One Times Square, which read “*** OFFICIAL TRUMAN ANNOUNCES JAPANESE SURRENDER ***”; the six asterisks represented the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the Garment District, workers threw out cloth scraps and ticker tape, leaving a pile five inches deep on the streets. A “coast-to-coast frenzy of [servicemen] kissing” occurred, with Life publishing photographs of such kisses in Washington, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Miami.

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