PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WMBF) – World War II ended 70 years ago today when Japan surrendered aboard the USS Missouri. Walter Garth Holmes, a United States Marine and Pawleys Island resident, was aboard the US battleship on that historic day.
"A surrender ceremony took place I would guess 40 or 50 feet from me," Mr. Holmes explained. "I was that close to where General MacArthur was and he had his corn cob pipe, which is what he's famous for and his chest full of ribbons."
After Russia declared war on Japan and the US used its nuclear bomb on Nagasaki during the late summer of 1945, Japan agreed on August 10 to accept unconditional surrender.
On September 2, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur formally accepted Japan's surrender to the Allies during a ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Mr. Holmes, who was only 20 years old at the time, said that he did not realize the magnitude of the event he had witnessed. He was one of several Allied servicemen who witnessed the ceremony.
He said that his most vivid memories of the event are about General Douglas MacArthur.
"He was a predominant person," Mr. Holmes said "He was tall, large. Had a pipe. Had a swagger, had a chest full of ribbons. His cap was turned sort of cocked. He was in charge. That's what I remember about him."
Walter Garth Holmes will turn 91 years old on September 17.
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