VP Day remembered at CMC15/08/2020
Victory in the Pacific, or VP Day, on 15 August, marks Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies at the end of World War 2. On 15 August 1945, after more than three years of war in the region, the Japanese accepted the Allied Nation’s terms of surrender and the Prime Minister, Ben Chifley announced that the war was over. Nearly 1 million Australians served in the armed forces during the war.
The war affected many countries in the region including Singapore, Borneo, Malaya, Papua, New Guinea and New Britain. Around 40,000 Australians didn’t return home to their families. Over 17,000 of them lost their lives while fighting in the war against Japan, and around 8,000 personnel died in Japanese captivity.
Throughout 1995, Australians participated in ‘Australia Remembers’ celebration of the 50th anniversary of the end of the War in the Pacific. There were Victory Parades, veterans recounting their memories and experiences, and depictions of the 1940’s mood and lifestyle.
People celebrated the onset of peace but also the spirit and courage of the men and women who sacrificed so much, both on the battlefields and at home.
At Catholic College Bendigo (as it was known then), students used History Week to better understand the events leading up to Victory in the Pacific. The week culminated in a solemn ceremony at Junortoun on 15 August 1995.
Students planned and helped build a Peace Garden which surrounded a plaque commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Peace in the Pacific. A time capsule was buried near the plaque and was intended to be opened on the 75th Anniversary in 2020.
Principal at the time, Sr Sylvia Williams rsm, staff members and a representative from each class planted a flower to commemorate the occasion. Poems were read and two staff members, Mr Noel Hussey and Mr Bob Hayden spoke of their own war experiences.
Unfortunately, the 75th Anniversary of the VP in 2020 is marred by the restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has become necessary to delay the unearthing and opening of the time capsule to a time when the students could be present.
Instead, we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Pacific by recognising and acknowledging those Australians who contributed to the war effort and defended the freedom of nations throughout the Second World War.
A national service will be broadcast live across Australia by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and streamed online from 10am on Saturday 15 August.
Ms Barbara Lomas