As a result of guidance from the Scottish Government and Legion Scotland, there won’t be a public event in Dumfries and Galloway to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day [Saturday 15 August 2020].
There will, however, be a virtual Service of Commemoration and a video will be promoted across several media channels, including the Council’s Facebook page.
Councillor Archie Dryburgh MBE, Armed Forces Champion, said: “It is, of course, disappointing that there can’t be an actual gathering but the safety of veterans and the public is our paramount consideration during Covid-19. Our alternative VJ Day arrangements demonstrate Dumfries and Galloway Council’s continuing support for and appreciation of our Armed Forces.”
At the request of Poppy Scotland, the union flag will be flown on Council buildings on 15 August to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.
In May 1945, when the war ended in Europe with victory over Nazi Germany, VE Day was rightly celebrated. However, tens of thousands of Allied Forces were still engaged in bitter fighting in the Pacific theatre.
In July 1945, the Allies called for the unconditional surrender of the Imperial Japanese armed forces. Japan ignored this and the war continued.
From the Japanese invasion of Guam and Hong Kong onwards, many British and Commonwealth civilians and armed forces were taken prisoners, enduring terrible mental and physical trauma at the hands of their Japanese captors, including forced labour, torture, and starvation.
The Far East saw some of the fiercest fighting in some of the harshest conditions of WW2, with Japanese troops defending island locations to the death and Kamikaze pilots targeting Allied ships.
Rather than pursue what would have been a high casualty progress towards Japan, the Allies targeted Japanese cities with conventional bombs and firebombs. When Japan chose to fight on, the Allies exploded atomic bombs above Hiroshima [6 August] and Nagasaki [9 August], devastating their targets. Imperial Japan surrendered to the Allies on 15 August 1945. The surrender ended the conflict in the Pacific and brought WW2 to a close.
Councillor Archie Dryburgh MBE, Armed Forces Champion, said: “The 75th anniversary of VJ Day is a time for us to collectively remember the contribution made by people from Scotland, the UK, the Commonwealth, and the Allied Nations. Their sacrifices enabled the freedoms and democracy that we enjoy to this day. Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. As we see a rise in intolerance, hate crime and anti-Semitism, it’s vital that we take time to remember the atrocities of war and work to ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes again.”