The end of WW II in Europe came at a great cost. The text below chronicles one SSND community's experience of the end of the war. News reports of the liberation of Paris, the British liberation of a concentration camp, the death of Hitler, an English and American celebration each give a different view of the final days of World War II.
Remembering the End of World War II
From the SSND Chronicles of St. Francis Borgia, Washington, MO.
"May 5 and August 14, 1945 proved to be red-letter days in the history of the world. May 5 saw the close of the war in Europe. Rejoicing was tempered by the fact that our boys were still fighting in the Pacific. Nonetheless Sunday, May 6, was proclaimed a day of prayerful Thanksgiving throughout our nation. Exposition all day with a solemn Holy Hour at 7:30, followed by Benediction, taps and Holy God.
"On August 14, at 6:00 P.M. came the long looked-for news: Japan had surrendered, and we were no longer at war! The church bells rang gloriously: for one hour, at every quarter, they rang for five minutes; that until 6 A.M., August 15, they rang on the hour. At. 7:30 the Fathers conducted a Holy Hour for all who had spontaneously assembled immediately after the radio announcement. The church was packed and the volume of "Holy God" after Benediction was tremendous.
After services, SFB School Band, the Elks Band, and the Washington Concert Band marched through the streets playing joyously. Crowds spontaneously joined the parade. At the intersection of Second and Cedar a piano (ed. note: piano was probably from the convent!) had been moved into the street and dancing and singing continued until the early hours of the Assumption Feast. The day was, without proclamation, assumed to be a legal holiday, so that the church was filled with worshippers during most of the day, even at times when there were no Holy Masses in progress.
Those of us who remember Armistice Day, 1918, have noted that the celebration at the close of this war took a much less rowdy and much more prayerful tone than those of the close of World War I - though there was a great deal of noise also." (p. 255-258)