Maxine Clamage

Letters to a Lost Soldier – V-J Day, August, 1945 – Victory over Japan

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Dear Daddy,

(I originally wrote in August, 1945) The Japanese surrendered and we are celebrating V-J Day – Victory over Japan! The world is at peace! We are relieved you won’t have to fight any more for our country. If the U.S. Army send you to Japan to complete your military service, I hope they want to help the Japanese people and not hurt them. I wish our country stops fighting in wars and our leaders learn how to get along with others.

After we dropped two atomic bombs on his country, Japanese Emperor Hirohito spoke in a radio broadcast: “Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in the ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation but would lead also to the total extinction of human civilization.”

The world leaders at Potsdam received what they demanded in the Potsdam Declaration – the unconditional surrender of Japan and the end of war. President Truman addressed crowds assembled outside the White House. He said, “This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor.”

British Prime Minister Clement Attlee confirmed in a radio address, “The last of our enemies is laid low.” King George VI addressed the nation and the empire from Buckingham Palace. “Our hearts are full to overflowing, as are your own. Yet there is not one of us who has experienced this terrible war who does not realize that we shall feel its inevitable consequences long after we have all forgotten our rejoicings today.”

I pray we will be able to forgive and forget the losses suffered during the war. You were away almost two years and came home injured. I am sad that you still suffer from amoebic dysentery after six months in a Prisoner of War camp in Nazi Germany with unsanitary conditions and rotten food. I hope the Army doctors can heal your stomach so you can eat food like a normal person. I also wish they can treat your frostbitten feet and the injuries you suffered from the long marches you were required to endure. I’m glad you won’t have to march any more.

Many of our friends and relatives did not return home. We will not forget they sacrificed their lives because world leaders wanted to kill each other instead of talking over their differences and working things out. The leaders dragged tens of millions of innocent people into their squabbles. The millions of military and civilians who died will never be forgotten by their loved ones. How could we forget? The injured have a long road ahead. We are guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and these inalienable rights were taken away from the many who died as a result of war.

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt supported President Truman’s decision to drop the bombs to end the war, saying it was fortunate the Allies developed the bomb before the Japanese did. “The new atomic discovery has changed the whole aspect of the world we live in,” she wrote in her newspaper column. “It has been primarily thought of in light of its destructive power. Now we have to think of it in terms of how it may serve mankind in the days of peace.”

President Truman designated Sunday, August 19, 1945, as a day of prayer “to honor the memory of those who have given their lives to make possible our victory.”

The Magic Carpet operation that brought our military home from Europe since June, 1945, is transporting service personnel and civilians from the Pacific and Asia. You are one of the lucky soldiers who returned home alive. I asked God to save my father and God answered my prayers. The Magic Carpet fleet includes 48 hospital ships to safely transport over half a million wounded people. I am now asking God to heal the sick and impaired.

I hope the injured can all be taken care of and will recover to live happy lives. That is what I also wish for our family. I pray we will all be well and happy and can get along with one another.

Love,

Maxine
 
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