The 65th Anniversary of the End of World War II
Woodlawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park honored veterans of World War II with a “Spirit of 1945 Ceremony” on Saturday, August 14, 2010.
Direct involvement of the United States in World War II began with the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The war ended in Europe on May 8, 1945; however, the Japanese were determined to fight to the death to defend their homeland. A ground invasion of Japan would cost thousands of lives on both sides. The atomic bomb shortened the war and saved both American and Japanese lives.
The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9. The Japanese announced their decision to surrender and Victory in Japan Day was declared on August 15. American troops began landing in Japan, August 28, 1945. General MacArthur made a dramatic landing in Japan, August 30th. A formal signing of the surrender of Japan to the United States took place on the deck of the Battleship Missouri, the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, on September 2nd 1945 and World War II was officially over.
American Legion Post 3 Honor Guard posted the colors to open the ceremony at Woodlawn following the Pledge to the Flag and the National Anthem; Chip Howard welcomed World War II veterans and other attendees on behalf of Woodlawn, hosts of the event. Charlie Porter, Past President of the South Carolina Division, Sons of the American Revolution, served as master of ceremonies.
Paying tribute to the sacrifices and accomplishments of the veterans of World War II were two heroes of more recent wars. Both are former enlisted Infantrymen who retired from active commissioned service as officers.
The first to speak was Lieutenant Colonel Steve Shivers, United States Marine Corps, a veteran of the Vietnam War with awards for valor, three Purple Hearts and a Battlefield Commission, the last battlefield commission awarded by the Marine Corps in Vietnam.
Col. Shivers commended the World War II veterans for their total commitment to victory and a standard of living unparallel in world history secured for the American people.
Lieutenant Colonel William “Bill” Price, United States Army, a brave decorated veteran of recent wars in the Persian Gulf and Middle East, is Professor of Military Science at Furman University. His job is motivating and equipping young male and female students to be successful officers in the United States Army. Officers commissioned through the Furman ROTC program have a magnificent record on active duty. Col. Price commended the World War II veterans for setting an example, a standard of excellence and devotion to duty as role models for today’s soldiers and military leaders.
Following TAPS, honored veterans and other attendees were treated to refreshments and special big band music by the excellent “Grumpy Old Jazz Men.”
Woodlawn sponsors a number of special programs for veterans throughout the year.