VJ Day, 65 years later—a celebration Aug. 15 in Dixon
By Rick Munson
A little after noon on Aug. 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito’s announcement of Japan’s acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration was broadcast to the Japanese people over the radio. Earlier the same day, the Japanese government had broadcast an announcement over Radio Tokyo that “Acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation would be coming soon,” and had advised the Allies of the surrender by sending a cable to U.S. President Harry S. Truman via the Swiss diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.
This Aug. 15, 65 years after this date, a celebration will be held in the city of Dixon, Ill., commemorating this momentous event. The celebration will center upon the veterans who served and came home from the war and the veterans who gave their lives in the defense of all of us. This is the date that all WWII hostilities came to an end for the greatest generation.
The celebration will be held along the beautiful new riverfront area along River Street in between the bridges in downtown Dixon, Ill. The festivities will begin at noon, Sunday, Aug. 15, with the opening of the festival grounds. The ceremonies will begin at 12:30 p.m. with opening remarks from Dixon Mayor James Burke. A fly-over of WWII-era aircraft is planned. Also included in the opening ceremony will be full military presentation of the American flag by the Color Guard from the Dixon American Legion Post 12. Music to accompany the presentation will be provided by a portion of the City of Dixon’s Municipal Band. A rifle salute and the playing of taps will follow the flag presentation. Guest speakers will then address the crowd. A prayer of benediction will be presented to honor all of those who gave their lives during the WWII conflict. A lone bagpiper will follow the prayer with a playing of “Amazing Grace.”
Following the opening ceremony, under the large tented area, music and displays depicting the WWII era will commence. The display tent will be open for the duration of the event and will include: artifacts from WWII, a viewing booth playing authentic 16mm news reels from the war years, a series of paintings created by local artist Todd Lorenc depicting views of WWII events, and displays from all the local area veterans’ groups. Three musical acts in the stage area tent will provide entertainment throughout the event, starting at 2 p.m. with the Don Karol Orchestra, a 14-piece 1940s-era swing band. At 5 p.m., the duo Flying Fish will perform their rendition of 1960s,‘70s and ‘80s music. Then at 8 p.m., The Late Night Blues Brothers Rhythm and Blues Review will round out the entertainment.
The Dixon American Legion Post 12 will have a fund-raising grill located at the west end of the grounds, serving several types of grilled food and cold drinks. A handicapped-equipped bus will provide rides from the event site to the Dixon Veterans Memorial Park for guided tours.
Tax-deductible donations to cover the costs of this event are welcome. Several local benefactors have contributed funds in support of this memorable event. All funding is handled by the event sponsor, The Next Picture Show Fine Art Gallery, and is handled within their 501(c)(3). Tax-deductible monetary contributions can be submitted through The Next Picture Show at 113 W. First St., Dixon, IL 61021. Any funds collected that are not utilized for the event will be donated to the Dixon Veterans Memorial Park.
Rick Munson is a resident of Dixon, Ill., whose father was a veteran who served with the U.S. Navy.
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