Tuesday, August 15, 2006
There is joy and celebration around the world and 15 August has been declared Victory in Japan day.
The end of war will be marked by two-day holidays in the UK, the USA and Australia.
After days of rumour and speculation, US President Harry S Truman broke the good news at a press conference at the White House at 1900 yesterday.
"This is a stigma against the Japanese, whom we do business with and are allies," said George Lima, a former state representative who worked on a failed attempt to eliminate the holiday in the 1980s.
Veterans groups remain committed to the holiday, celebrated on the second Monday of August.
"This is the way the veterans feel about it in Rhode Island," said George Panichas, a former legislator who was a gunner on a B-17 bomber during World War II. "They fought against the Japanese, and they just don't forget it."
There have been several attempts to change the holiday's name, but each time lawmakers met overwhelming opposition, said state Sen. Rhoda Perry. She introduced bills in 1992, 1994 and 1995 to change the holiday to Rhode Island Veterans Day. A second bill in 1995 would have changed it to Peace and Remembrance Day.
Miss Perry said she received "vitriolic" mail from veterans. "It was absolutely a no-winner," she said. "I did not have support, period."
However, the General Assembly passed a resolution in 1990 stating that Victory Day is not a day to express satisfaction in the destruction and death caused by nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
People need the holiday to remember the sacrifices veterans made during the war, said James Brennan, a survivor of the 1942 Bataan Death March, in which Japanese soldiers tortured and killed thousands of American and Philippine prisoners.
However, Mr. Brennan said he does not harbor ill feelings toward the Japanese and does not think the holiday incites racism or hatred.
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