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?”