Abingdon veteran reflects on end of WWII ahead of virtual commemoration ceremony

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ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – It’s been 75 years since Japan’s surrender that officially ended World War II.

Veterans who served in that war who are still alive today, say they remember the historic day like it was yesterday.

September 2, 2020 marks the official 75-year anniversary date, and festivities to commemorate the surrender were all set to go until COVID-19 hit.

Honolulu, Hawaii was to be the site that over 50 veterans and their caretakers would arrive at to remember the day that changed their lives forever.

The instrument of surrender that ended the war was signed on September 2, 1945, on the deck of the USS Missouri, which is now a museum ship in Pearl Harbor.

For the commemoration ceremony, Doyle Boothroy of Abingdon planned to attend, but with COVID-19 travel restrictions and health concerns for this specific population, the ceremony was forced to move online.

Since organizers cannot host the veterans in Hawaii, they will be carrying a live stream of the ceremonies so that WWII veterans who planned to attend in person can still participate online.

Plans to host this ceremony have been in the works since December of last year, but an on-going pandemic was certainly not part of the plans.

Just last week, officials with the World War II Commemoration Committee decided that canceling the in-person event would be in everyone’s best interest in terms of safety.

Boothroy was 19 when he served aboard the USS Missouri. He said he worked in the weather office on the ship with five others. He remembers the day the treaty was signed. “Witnessing the signing of the treaty itself was possibly the best moment I had,” said Boothroy.

However, at the time, he didn’t realize how important that moment would become.

Organizers understand how important the anniversary is and are upset that the in-person festivities had to be moved online.

“They were really looking forward to reconnecting with other veterans but especially the ones that served on the Missouri. To be back on the deck of that battleship where the signing of the surrender happened on September 2nd was a huge event for them and it’s a huge disappointment that it was canceled,” said Frank Haas, World War II Commemorative Committee Member.

Boothroy plans on watching the online stream and encourages the younger generation to watch and learn about the second World War. While he’s upset it’s no longer in person, he’s still glad they are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the war ending.

The streaming will begin at 8:30 a.m. Hawaiian time (2:30 p.m. Eastern) with a flyover to follow that coincides with the time the document was signed.

The link to watch can be found here.

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