Victory Over Japan Day Still Exists? For reals?

Today is the 65th anniversary of the day on which Fat Man, the second atomic bomb, was dropped on Nagasaki.

It also happens to be VJ Day. That is, “Victory Over Japan Day,” commemorating Japan’s surrender to the Allies. And it’s a state holiday in Rhode Island.

I had no idea such a thing even existed past the 1940’s, until a friend living in RI mentioned it. Rhode Island is, at least, the only state to celebrate this rather anachronistic holiday, but it’s really sort of awkward that it exists at all. There’s just something bizarre about having a holiday celebrating a military victory over a Major U.S. ally.

Although back in 1990 the Rhode Island GA passed a resolution helpfully clarifying that VJ Day is “not a day to express satisfaction in the destruction and death caused by nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” all other attempts at revoking the holiday or at least renaming it have failed.

I suppose it’s just too risky of a political activity, with too little gain, for any politician to try very hard at getting rid of it. Although it’s kind of embarrassing, it doesn’t cause any real harm, so people are content to let it be. Otherwise, any politician that does give a “yes” vote to nixing the holiday will forever after have to deal with charges from opposing candidates that “Politician X is against supporting U.S. veterans,” or deal with campaign trail questions of, “Why do you think America should not celebrate its victories and pay its respects to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice?”


6 thoughts on “Victory Over Japan Day Still Exists? For reals?

    • Or if they can’t be that bold, even just subtly switching the date to sometime in March and calling it “Veterans of WWII from Rhode Island Day”?

      Getting rid of holidays in general is probably a pretty unpopular move, people like days off. Plus, the January – May gap in state or national holidays is pretty brutal, August doesn’t need one as much as March does.

  1. But “VJ Day” isn’t on August 9th.

    That is the anniversary of the day Nagasaki was attacked (as you mentioned).

    But “VJ Day” is on August 14th in the U.S. and on the 15th (today) in Japan…due to the time difference.

    Japan surrendered on 1945 August 15, JST.

    It’s called 「終戦記念日」 (lit. “Anniversary of the end of the war”) in Japan.

    • To clarify: VJ Day, the Rhode Island state holiday, is the second Monday in August. This year, VJ Day was on August 9th.

      The “real” VJ Day for the U.S. is September 2nd, when the surrender documents were signed, but August 14th is also known as VJ day, too.

  2. I think it is a shame for RI to celebrate such a horrific day. The crooked politicians here are keeping it for what reason? Shameful

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