Raritan Remembers 65 Years Ago - The Day World War II Ended
August 14th, 1945 known as VJ-Day (Victory Over Japan)
|65 Years Ago on August 14th, 1945 at 7 PM
President Truman made the
announcement that Japan had surrendered
thus ending World War II
The War's end set off the biggest celebration in U.S. History
Raritan, a town who made great contributions
to the war, both overseas and on the homefront,
joined that celebration.
The War had lasted over 3 and a half years for the U.S.
An estimated 295,000 U.S. Soldiers were killed
including 24 From Raritan
Click to see profiles on the 24 Raritan Men
who made the ultimate sacrifice
This Raritan Gas Station was decorated for VJ Day
The Station stood at the corner of Thompson St.
& Rt. 202. click to see larger photo
In the midst of the celebration tragic war news
was still being delivered as a telegram confirmed
the death of Raritan's Ed Harcarik who had previously
been listed as missing in action.
|The above article from The Raritan Valley News|
Told of Raritan's VJ Day Celebration
|Below Some Raritan Residents Recall VJ-Day|
|Peter Vitelli, then 8 years old recalled VJ Day:
He was at home with his family at 8 Lincoln St.
when they heard the Church Bells ringing.
Soon a neighbor stopped by the house telling that
the war had ended. Overjoyed everyone went house to house
hugging their friends, family and neighbors.
Radios were on in every household as people were
listening for the details.
Quickly Raritan residents filled the local churches
to give their thanks that it was all over.
John Pacifico, who had just graduated from Somerville High School
had written a letter to his friend Isadore Grasso, who was overseas,
that described what VJ-Day was like.
On the night of the fourteenth we had enough excitement to last for years.
When it was officially announced that the Japanese had surrendered,
Raritan with Somerville and Bound Brook, became an unbelievable "riot town".
People were going wild, the streets were mobbed with cars and crowds,
with every kind of noise you could think of,
besides the continuous sounding of horns, whistles, guns, etc.
Carmine, Russian, Angelo, Bucky, Chicky Laggini and I were in Johnny Aucellotte's
car making a "racket" as we rode through the "paper stormed" towns.
It was a night well worth remembering, but the day which will be worth much
more to me is when I see you guys back here in the best place of them all - Raritan.
|A letter written home from Al Gaburo (who was serving overseas in|
the Marines) to Raritan Tavern Owner Tony Orlando told it best:
| To us it meant that the horrors of war were a thing of the past.
We received the news with a great deal of happiness.
We celebrated by cheering and singing. Most of us
went to the chapel and gave thanks to the lord.
It meant that we would no longer have to trust our luck.
It meant we would soon be returned to our loved ones.
From the reports that I get, I rather surmised that you boys had a
hell of a good time upon hearing of Japan's surrender.
Your letter to me was self explanatory.
I could readily see that you were one happy person.
I was happy to note that you made your promise good Tony.
I well remember the day when you told me the very words that
"your place would be open to everyone when final victory came!"
I do admire you for your sincerity.
I could just picture the gang parading the streets of Raritan,
drunker than hell. I'll bet they even brought their bottles
along with them. Lucky Stiffs.
Several other Raritan men who were serving overseas |
wrote home to Tony Orlando about VJ Day
|Many people went wild when the war ended
and I think all the boys who fought this war feel the same way …
we have to enjoy peace as best we can.
I got a good load on by drinking Champagne from France.
I read in the Raritan paper that you had a band and
marched all over Raritan
and then everybody went over to your place.
I bet they raised hell in Raritan that night.
|Very glad to hear you had a swell time celebrating V-J day.
I know what it means to you and Mom and everyone home …
When V-J day came we just acted as if it was another day...
everyone here is waiting to get home to celebrate.
Tony Orlando's son