VJ DAY is Saturday
It would be hard to imagine that wonderful day when Truman’s announcement of Japan’s surrender started mass celebrations across the country, if it weren’t for the photographs that have emerged over the years. A famous scene in New York captured by a Life Magazine photographer of a sailor kissing a girl has filled viewers of that photo with a sense of that elation. I have two old photographs from my mother’s album of my own small town of Three Rivers, Michigan, reacting to the announcement. I also remember the VJ Day Celebrations in our town every summer after that with carnival rides, games and candy apples. The last one I remember I was in high school. Dave and I were spinning and spooning on the Tilt-a-Whirl with our friends Joe and Lynnie when Joe upchucked. End of that celebration!
I have a history writer’s interest in VJ Day now. My book, Blue-Eyed Doll, due in 2016, deals with relations between the United States and Japan from 1929-1947. Ruth Mary Bradley, a girl of seven in 1929, is on a quest for world peace, which she is certain the friendship doll program will procure. But the path to peace is tumultuous for Ruth Mary, her doll Isabella, and the rest of the world as Japan’s imperialism bears down.
I’ve located some amazing photographs that will bring history alive for students viewing a power point presentation about the twenty years of the story. I hope it will inspire them to look wider and want to learn more about their U.S. history. VJ Day pictures from my hometown are part of the presentation representing hundreds of small towns across the country who hear the news and take to the streets to honk horns and kiss neighbors. The long war ends for Ruth Mary and her family who embrace world peace at last.
You can watch the progress of Blue-Eyed Doll and get sneak previews of the book on my website, www.booksbydeanna.com.