(Due to scheduling conflicts, our post for “The Man with the Hoe,” Edward B. Payne, and Labor Day, Part 2 has been delayed until Thursday, 4 Sep 2014.)
Edward A. McMurray did not talk much about his time in the Pacific during World War II. He had a few stories he would tell only when extremely prodded, and would just say that he couldn’t remember much more, though it was obvious that he did. When the WWII Memorial was being proposed and built in Washington, DC, however, he became more interested in his time in the military- though sadly that did not translate to new stories being told- and he even donated money to the Memorial. He was very excited about it finally being built, and wished he could have gone to see it. I wish we could have taken him there, but he did not want to travel once he was in his late 70s/early 80s.
One of the stories he told again was that he was on a ship in Tokyo Harbor the day of the surrender of Japan to the Allies, which ended World War II officially.
The clouds hung low in the early morning over Tokyo Harbor on September 2, 1945, and the harbor was full of ships, including the one that Ed and those in his unit stood on to listen to the radio. The Stars and Stripes, along with the flags of the Allied Nations, were rippling in the breeze over the USS Missouri, on which representatives of the Japanese and Allied powers stood at attention. The ceremony and its broadcast around the world began at 9:02 am.
After the Japanese signed “The Instrument of Surrrender,” American General Douglas MacArthur accepted it and signed the surrender as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. He gave a brief speech that included the following words:
“It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn
occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past.”
In just 23 minutes, World War II, the “war to end all wars,” was truly over. This date is commemorated as “V-J Day,” or Victory over Japan Day, in the US. (“V-E Day,” or Victory in Europe Day, had occurred on 08 May 1945.)
Edward, just 21 on that momentous day, told how elated they all were to be a part of the occasion, and right there in Tokyo Harbor, after all they had been through the past few years. They were later allowed to go visit in Japan, and he brought home Japanese money, a chocolate set, and a Japanese flag.
He also spoke of how incredible their first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty was as their ship finally returned to the United States. It was a reminder of what they had been fighting for, and that now the world was safe. They could return to their lives as planned, though they themselves, would be forever changed.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Fold3 HQ- the official blog of Fold3: Japan Surrenders: September 2, 1945. http://blog.fold3.com/japan-surrenders-september-2-1945/?utm_source=tmih&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tmih-sept-2014. Accessed 09/01/2014.
2) History.com- This day in history, September 2: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/japan-surrenders
3) Amazing color footage of the Japanese Surrender. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5MMVd5XOK8
4) Japanese Instrument of Surrender: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Instrument_of_Surrender
“Shigemitsu-signs-surrender” by Army Signal Corps – Naval Historical Center Photo # SC 213700. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shigemitsu-signs-surrender.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Shigemitsu-signs-surrender.jpg
5) Family photos.
Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images.
Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.