Navy flyover planned at USS Wisconsin to mark 75th anniversary of end of WWII
By KATHERINE HAFNER | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: September 1, 2020
NORFOLK, Va. (Tribune News Service) — On the morning of Sept. 2, 1945, more than 250 Allied warships sat anchored in Tokyo Bay.
Japanese officials came on board the USS Missouri to formally surrender to the Allies, ending World War II. The country had previously announced its surrender in August following the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on its cities.
“Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won,” Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Allied commander who presided over the signing, said in a speech broadcast around the world. “The skies no longer rain death ... The entire world is quietly at peace.”
Seventy-five years later, the battleship Wisconsin — a sister ship of the Missouri that sailed into Tokyo Bay three days after the signing — will host an event Wednesday commemorating the war’s end, complete with a Navy flyover.
The ceremony, which would have been attended by World War II veterans if not for the pandemic, will be live-streamed online starting at 9 a.m..
Two F/A-18F Super Hornets will fly over the ship at 9:08 a.m. to mark the time the surrender document was signed. The two-seaters are part of the Navy’s “Fighting Blacklions” Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana.
The flyover is “the big moment,” said Lily Jones of the Virginia World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission.
But the event will also include a keynote speech from the director of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, a reading of MacArthur’s 1945 speech and “remote remarks from significant WWII sites around Virginia.”
Though veterans can’t attend as officials had planned, some residents of the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center in Richmond will occasionally be featured in the live feed, Jones said.
Wednesday’s event also marks the culmination of several years of such commemorative events put on by the commission. It was formed by the General Assembly to plan programs celebrating the 100th anniversary of the WWI and 75th of WWII.
Separately, military museums in Norfolk will mark the occasion with a virtual book talk at 7 p.m.
The YouTube video live stream will be available 9 a.m. Wednesday at https://www.virginiawwiandwwii.org/2020signatureevent. A non-live version will be posted after the event.