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V.J. Day, Bly, Oregon

Story ID:10648
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:In Memory
Location:Bly Oregon USA
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V.J. Day - Bly, Oregon…
By Chuck Dishno
June 14, 2014

From the memory of Chuck Dishno;

Saturday is the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Japan on June 15, 1945 to put an end to World War Two.

June 14, 1945

I was eleven years old and living in my hometown of Bly, Oregon. It was a Thursday and my Pop had been listening to his favorite news commentator, Gabriel Heater, a.k.a. “Gloomy Gabe” because of his habit to always paint a dismal picture of how the war was going.

After dinner each evening, Pop would sit in front of the old Philco radio and listen to Gabe. He would usually come away shaking his head saying that things weren’t getting much better anytime soon. This particular evening, Pop got up from his chair and said that Gabe seemed to be really up beat and not his old gloomy self. Pop said. “I think something is in the works and maybe the end is in sight.”

We had special reasons to celebrate. The first being, my two brothers’s who were serving in the Army Air Force. The other being, Bly had just lost, on May 5th, 1945 five children and one adult due to the Japanese Balloon Bomb incident on Gearhart Mountain, near Bly. Five of my closest friends were killed that day and became the only deaths that resulted from enemy action on the North American Continent.

The next morning, a Saturday, broke with a cloudless sky and promised to be a beautiful day. Oh, how little we knew how glorious it would be.

About 2pm the bell over the fire shed began to ring constantly and people came from all over to see where the fire was. The whistle at the saw mill was going crazy. Cars were racing up and down the streets honking their horns. The word was out; President Truman had just announced that Japan had unconditionally surrendered. This was due to the two Atomic Bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki a few days before and Japan would suffer total destruction if she would not surrender.

Everyone was going nuts. My brother, Shad was home on furlough as were his friends, Andy Miller and Leonard Michelson. All that afternoon things kept getting more and more crazy as the sawmill shut down and the loggers came out of the woods. The logging train that came from Klamath Falls each afternoon could be heard blowing its whistle constantly miles before it reached Bly.

My most vivid memory is of brother Shad and his two buddies dragging an empty 55 gallon barrel up and down Highway 66 that ran through Bly. It was attached to Andy’s Model T by a 30 foot long logging chain and was bouncing and making sparks with each bounce. By that evening things had settled down a bit but the beer joints were full and celebrating until the wee hours.

These are the memories from an eleven year old boy 70 years ago who knew that great things were happening and his two brothers would soon be home safely.

Note: Japan officially surrendered on September 2nd 1945 when the documents were signed aboard the battle ship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.