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Minter Field Air Museum to display WWII surrender documents

The Minter Field Air Museum will have original copies of World War II surrender documents on display on the anniversary of the event.

At 11 a.m. on Sept. 3, an exhibit highlighting the surrender of the Japanese in 1945 will open at the museum in Shafter.

On Sept. 2, 1945, the Japanese officially surrendered, marking the end not just to World War II, but to 15 years of Japan's military rampage across Asia.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, along with Admiral Chester Nimitz and Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, Jr., received the Japanese delegation behind a table lain with documents. After a prayer and playing of the "Star-Spangled Banner," MacArthur gave a short speech, saying, "It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice."

The Japanese then stepped forward to sign the surrender documents, after which MacArthur and other officers sat down to affix his own signature, using five pens. Two of the pens he gave to Wainwright and Percival, and he reserved two more for the US Naval Academy and the US Military Academy, keeping the last for himself. Signatures then followed from representatives of the Soviet Union, China, Great Britain, France, Australia, and other Allied nations. As the ceremony ended after 23 minutes, a formation of B-29 Superfortresses that had brought destruction to Japan, along with carrier planes, swooped overhead.

According to Minter Field Air Museum President Ronald Pierce, this opportunity is a rare one that gives people a glimpse into such an important part of the United States' military history.


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