Every few years, as barely a word is ever spoken about VJ Day, I feel compelled to try to call attention to it. My father survived the Bataan Death March and then 3.5 years in the Philippines and Japan as a prisoner of war. By the summer of 1945 he had already gone through starvation, abuse, watching friends be executed, torture and life as a slave laborer. He weighed about 90lbs. A camp guard casually told the American prisoners that they believed that the US would soon be invading Japan and if that happened, they would need to immediately kill all prisoners and join the fight against the invaders. The American prisoners knew that this is exactly what would happen and almost didn’t care. Early in August of 1945, the guards received the order to execute the prisoners on Aug. 23. After “the bombs” were dropped on Japan; Aug. 6 and 9 and Japan officially surrendered on Aug. 15 (VJ Day), the prisoners came out of their barracks to see that all the Japanese guards had fled. Soon after that, there were parachute drops of food, medicine and radios. While gorging on the food, he stopped and thought it was great that he would be free on his next birthday, Aug. 23.
Before he died just a few years ago, he often expressed sadness and concern that what really happened would soon be forgotten.
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