Home > U.S. Navy > The Ships Log > Japan Surrenders
From the August 17, 1945, issue of The Ship's Log, the newspaper of the Receiving Station, Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington. Jack Gordon was 24 at the time and Managing Editor of the paper.
The official announcement of Victory Day by President Truman Tuesday brought little reaction from Receiving Station personnel—most R-Sites were skeptical of the reports after listening to the week-end long series of false alarms, rumors, and enduring a period of fateful waiting.
Blue jackets here gathered in large groups to listen to news broadcast monitored over the station public address system and at newsstands waiting impatiently for "extra" editions of local newspapers.
But underneath the subdued reception here was the tingle that was felt by almost everyone at the news--news that brought to a victorious end a war that lasted almost four years for America.
Some premature celebration was recorded in the locality Sunday when a false report was broadcast, but later killed.
That the city of Bremerton was prepared for the event came with Mayor L. Hum Kean's disclosure that all members of the city police department were ordered to report for duty as soon as the news broke; city firemen and members of the Bremerton company of the Washington State Guard also turned out in force. The Shore Patrol complement, on city streets was doubled.
The downtown area at 4:03 p. m.—three minutes after President Truman's message was flashed to the world—was a scene of bedlam.
What before was a quiet, war-weary town, became a near-riot as a mass of humanity rushed onto the streets amid the wild tooting of automobile horns and cheering, yelling men, women and children. Crowds continued their demonstrations in Bremerton for hours but the real celebration in this locality took place in Seattle where hundreds of thousands of Seattleites jammed downtown streets in wildly cheering masses to celebrate the end of the Japanese war.
Work ceased in the Puget Sound Navy Yard on the anuouncement made by the President that Japan's surrender had been accepted according to a previous announcement made by Rear Admiral Ralph Christie, Commandant.
"It is anticipated that Puget Sound Navy Yard workers who have shown exceptional loyalty and established outstanding records in doing their part to hasten the day of victory will be jubilant when the news comes that hostilities will cease. The shutdown period has been arranged to allow them to leave the yard for a few hours so that they may enjoy a well-deserved rest before returning to the task of meeting the heavy overhaul and repair schedule of the navy yard," the Commandant said.
Liberty of enlisted personnel was not restricted.
Bremertonians were urged by Mayor Kean to do their celebrating at home, and those who left their residences should be certain not to neglect in the excitement to lock their doors and disconnect electrical appliances. Public Works Commissioner Howard I. Gorst said.that streets, sewers and water department crews stood by to meet any emergency. All state liquor stores and agencies closed immediately after victory .was proclaimed officially, Chairman Luther E. Gregory of the state liquor control board said. The announcement, substantially the same as one issued after Germany gave up, asked that such stores and agencies remain closed until the end of the proclaimed period. Gregory also requested clubs to suspend the sale of intoxicants and taverns and res taurants which sell beer and wine were likewise asked to suspend sales during the official period.
Theaters of the city were expected to continue regular and uninterrupted programs, and most groups planning social functions were expected to have them as scheduled. Business meetings by groups, however, were postponed.
Bremerton's churches opened their doors so that worshippers could offer prayers of thanksgiving upon the end of the great conflict. It appeared that the moment V-J Day is officially announced all restaurants and grocery stores in the city will close. Both Harold Kuett, secretary of the Kitsap County branch of the Washington State Restaurant Association, and George Mick, secretary of the Kitsap County Retail Grocers' and Meat Dealers Association, said that their contacts with operators throughout the city showed a general trend towards closing doors.
[website note: The mention in the final paragraph of the Washington State Restaurant Association and its Kitsap Branch may be Gordon's first connection to the group he later managed for over 25 years.]
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