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Japan Surrenders V J Day
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Japan Surrenders V J Day

I was thirteen (13) years old when WWII ended, shortly after we dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan's cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My brother who had just survived Kamikaze pilots and a typhoon at Okinawa, was safe.

I didn't think of the charred and vaporized and fire-blistered and horribly disfigured people of those cities, which were not damaged from previous bombings so that our scientist could make a true evaluation of what effect such a explosive device would have on a city.

I just wanted my brother home out of the blistering effects of naval warfare.

My brother's friends (my older friends) were killed in Italy fighting with the Tenth Mountain Division. Norville McDaniel was killed by German artillery. Orville Broderick was wounded and probably treated by German medics before he died of his wounds. Both are still in Italy at the Tenth Mountain Division Cemetery.

I was afraid that my brother would join them in the Great Beyond buried in the Pacific Deep.

During the war, small panel flags were placed in the front windows of the homes of servicemen. A blue star meant the serviceman was safe, a bronze star meant he was missing, a silver star meant he (or she) was wounded, and a gold star meant the service man had died in service. I watched those stars change color over time from blue to gold.

It was not a happy experience.

Delivering Papers

I was north of downtown Salt Lake City when we got news the war was over. We finished delivering our papers and headed straight for the newspaper office. We lined up for the Extra and headed out onto Main Street which was crowded with people hugging and kissing people, the servicemen having a great time placing a smacker on a girl.

It was bedlam!

Papers were easy to sell. Some people paid and did not take the paper saying, "I don't read."

Some of the boys got five dollar tips.

I was not one of the lucky ones.

I took the last bus home as I didn't want to walk the whole way with pockets full of coins. When I got home, I found that after paying for the newspapers, I had earned $13.00 as much as I had earned for picking onions over several days. (We were let out of school to pick onions for the "war effort.")

My friend, Don Lopez, who was in the army with me during the Korean War and who was on the streets when the extra first came out, earned $40.00, a small fortune.

The Day After

The next day I took my perch on the neighbors front porch where we shared the news and played with a Ouiji Board, that mysterious board that answered our secret questions like, "Will Mary give me a kiss."

We also stuck a pin in the eraser of the pencil and hung it over a person's wrist, carefully not to move the pencil. Then the pencil would mysteriously start swinging, parallel and transverse to the arm, predicting the birth of boys and girls in order. It worked perfectly for married people with children and was assumed to be true for the unwed.

I read the newspaper about the end of the war and every word of the articles about atomic bombs and what the new Nuclear Age would bring. I learned about nuclear fission, neutrons banging into the nucleus of atoms, splitting the uranium 235 isotopes into Ba, La and such, releasing humongous amounts of energy.

Our energy shortage was solved.

Years later, I drove to Pennsylvania from New Jersey to get her out of the way of the radiation from Three Mile Island (When I got there, I found a news blackout).

I thought that the end of WWII would be the end of war. Instead, the Soviet Union, terrified of a nuclear war, started the race to produce nuclear weapons and the intercontinental missiles to deliver them.

We went along or the ride.

As for war, I'm against it. You an read my feelings on war if you like. They are open to the public. Maybe you don't like amateur poets.

You will be dropping by in Idaho, won't you?

John


Street Talk

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