V-J Day commemorated at memorial

Special to the Bulletin
From left, Harold Stieber (American Legion Post 196), Al   Barrera (Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3278) and James Waller (American Legion Post 196) are pictured at the V-J Day commemoration.

Representatives of the American Legion Post 196 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3278 in Brownwood commemorated V-J Day — Victory Over Japan — in a simple ceremony Wednesday at the Central Texas Veterans Memorial.

Retired Navy Capt. Al Barrera, a member of the VFW post, placed a wreath at the World War II Memorial that honors the 172 Brown County servicemen who lost their lives during World War II.

He was joined by Harold Stieber, representing the American Legion and president of the Central Texas Veterans Memorial and James Waller, second vice commander of the post.

Victory over Japan Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day or V-P Day), is the day on which Imperial Japan surrendered in World War II, bringing the war to an end.

On Sept. 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony was performed aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay with General Douglas MacArthur presiding.

It was clear in early 1944 that Japan had no ability to win the war. Having been offered the ability to surrender, Japan refused and vowed to fight to the bitter end. The projected casualties for an invasion of Japan would cost the Allies 1 million killed or wounded servicemen.

At this time of the War in the Pacific, the Allies consisting of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia had suffered 126,746 killed in action, 279,979 wounded, and 93,322 were prisoners of war.

President Harry Truman approved the release of the newly tested atomic bomb to preclude any further loss of allied forces and the bring the war to an end. Two atomic bombs were dropped, the first, “little Boy”, on the city Hiroshima on Aug. 6,1945 and the second, “Fat Man,” on the city of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945.

An estimated 200,00 people died as a result to the two atomic bombs, including United States prisoners of war. At noon on August 15, 1945, Emperor HIrohito announced his country’s surrender in a radio broadcast.

Al Barrera, retired Navy captain and a member of VFW Post 3278, is pictured at the V-J Day commemoration Wednesday.