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U.S. Navy Commemorates End of WWII

USS Missouri
Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945 Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, signs the Instrument of Surrender as United States Representative, aboard USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Standing directly behind him are (left-to-right): Gener

Published Sep 3, 2015 7:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

More than 400 service members, veterans, government employees, foreign leaders and civilians attended the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on September 2. 

The ceremony was held on board the Battleship Missouri Memorial on historic Ford Island, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The surrender took place on the wooden decks of the battleship USS Missouri on September 2, 1945. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, General Douglas MacArthur, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and other world leaders signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender marking the end of the war.

Admiral Scott H. Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, served as a distinguished guest speaker during the ceremony and offered remarks to those in attendance.

“Spin the calendar ahead 70 years and we gather here only a ship's length away from the USS Arizona, perhaps the most famous icon representing the beginning of the War in the Pacific for so many Americans," said Swift. "Many Arizona sailors remain entombed within the ship they served, a reminder to all of us who serve our nation do so without regard for reward or destiny.”

Noting the transition from war to peace, Swift stressed the importance of commitment to U.S. allies, partners and friends and the importance of cooperation between all nations and strengthening these relationships.

Swift also expressed his gratitude to the veterans for their sacrifices, their strength and for the future they secured for the new generations.

"We remain indebted to these veterans whose service demonstrated the selfless actions of the “greatest generation”," said Swift. “May those who lost their lives to bring us peace be honored here today and the future.”

During the keynote address, Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii commended the collaboration between the United States and Japan in their efforts to rebuild the world around them and improve mutual understanding and respect after the war.

More than 2,000 sailors and Marines attended the original surrender ceremony. Among them was Radioman Second Seaman Donald Fosburg. A former crew member of the Missouri, Fosburg celebrated his 89th birthday and was honored with the national ensign during the ceremony. He recalled what he felt returning to the ship more than seven decades later.

“It was a day you would never forget, we squeezed in every nook and cranny," Fosburg said. "I stood here on the deck of this great ship and witnessed the signing of the formal surrender of the Japanese empire to the allied forces. What a great day that was.”

The ceremony concluded with a U.S. Navy ceremonial gun salute, Amazing Grace performed by Celtic Pipes and Drummers of Hawaii and echo taps played by the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band.

Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, greets Donald Fosburg, a former Navy Radioman, during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Fosburg, who celebrated his 89th birthday and was presented an ensign, witnessed Japan officially surrendered as the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed aboard the USS Missouri by Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and other world leaders on Sept, 2, 1945. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian Wilbur/Released)