Only In Rhode Island.com
So, today is the 2nd Monday in August, and that can mean only one thing in Rhode Island - it's Victory Day!!! This day commemorates the day that Japan surrendered to the U.S., ending World War II. Rhode Island is the only State that still observes this day, which many know as VJ Day.
At this time every year, there is always discussion of whether this is appropriate to celebrate or whether it's discriminatory or politically incorrect. In fact, we posed the question on our Facebook Page and have so far gotten quite a few responses - most in support of celebrating. One poster wrote..."what is the future without the past?" Another posted....."Should, keeps the place different"
But in the opposing, minority viewpoint one of our posters wrote....."Why does RI still declare it a " holiday " ??? Because NOTHING in RI EVER changes...it's as simple as that..And NO we should not honor this day anymore."
I must confess that I am not a native Rhode Islander and did not grow up here. I do not remember ever celebrating VJ Day or VE Day, although my grandfather and great uncle both served in WWII so I was very much aware of the significance.
All that being said.... it seems that the end of (any) war is something worthy of celebration, and it's unrealistic to pretend it never happened, regardless of how uncomfortable it may seem to talk about it now. And, it was not only Japan that was defeated, of course, they just happened to be the "last man standing', so to speak.
To celebrate such a day, I believe we should do so with the utmost respect for the lives that were lost (on all sides) and the suffering that was caused (by ALL sides), and reflect upon the way things looked then versus how they appear to us now. The world is much smaller and much more accessible to us now. And I, as well as millions of other Americans, drive a car manufactured in Japan, own 2 televisions manufactured in Japan, as well as my smart phone, my computer, and who knows what else?? My point is, the Japanese are not our enemy.
Perhaps if there's any "Victory" worth celebrating, it should be one of understanding that wars are not worth fighting and enemies are not worth keeping. To celebrate such a day, we should call for a day of Peace and try to understand the jubilation and relief the U.S. soldiers and their loved ones felt on that day in 1945, when they learned there would be no more fighting. One day of Peace, with no fighting?? That's something I would celebrate.