07 May 2010

V-E Day

Even though I was five years old (actually about half way to my sixth birthday) I have a recollection of V-E Day, that is, Victory in Europe Day:  The day Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered to allied forces.

May 8th is the sixty-fifth anniversary of V-E Day.  Without having known all out war, young people today cannot begin to appreciate the feeling of relief and jubilation at the fact of Nazi Germany's surrender.  As best I recall, it was a fairly warm day in May, and when the news broke it was some time in the afternoon of a sunny day.  As best I recall, church bells started ringing; the bell in the dome of the county courthouse, maybe ten blocks north of where we lived, started chiming.  Normally, the bell was part of the clock housed in the dome and chimed the hour (and maybe the quarter and half hour too).  We could hear car horns blaring.  The steam whistle in the shop at the railroad repair yards to the northwest of us started tooting.  It went on and on.

I suppose my mother, or maybe one of the neighbor women, heard the news on the radio.  For some reason they decided to go to the town square, where the courthouse was, to see what was going on.  I recall Mom gathering up my brother and me; we caught the bus and rode the several blocks down to the square.  The sidewalks and streets were full of people and cars.  There was cheering.  I recall that the bus doors opened and I got off, expecting Mom and my brother to follow.  They didn't and I quickly got back on the bus.  I don't recall where we ended up going.  Maybe we went to my grandparents' apartment, several blocks to the northwest of the downtown square.  I don't remember.

The things I do remember are the joy and general excitement at the news that the war—at least one part of—finally was over.