Victory Day (United States)

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For other uses, see Victory Day, and not to be confused with V-E Day (which is on May 9th)
Victory Day
V-J Day Times Square NYWTS.jpg
Crowds celebrating V-J Day in Times Square
Also called Victory Over Japan Day, VJ Day
Observed by United States (Rhode Island)
Type National
Date Second Monday in August
2013 date August 12  (2013-08-12)
2014 date August 11  (2014-08-11)
2015 date August 10  (2015-08-10)
2016 date August 8  (2016-08-08)
Frequency annual

Victory Day was a federal holiday in the United States from 1948 until 1975 and is still only officially observed in the U.S. state of Rhode Island on the second Monday of August. Originally, the official name was "Victory over Japan Day" and "V-J Day", as proclaimed by then President Harry Truman and was officially observed on September 2nd nationwide. At some point, the name was changed to "Victory Day" in light of the modern post-war Japan emerging in economic importance. Further name changes were attempted later, but were unsuccessful, at which point, the name "Victory Day" remained the official name.

The holiday celebrates the conclusion of World War II and is related to Victory over Japan Day in the United Kingdom. It was a nationally recognized holiday from 1948 to 1975, but it has since been removed due to its reference to Japan in light of the current and good relations. Rhode Island retains the holiday in tribute to the disproportionate number of sailors it sent and lost in the Pacific front.[1]


Scene made famous by Life magazine photograph

Victory Day has commemorated the anniversary of Japan’s surrender to the Allies in 1945 which ended World War II. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9, and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Manchuria in the previous week led to the eventual surrender. President Harry S Truman’s announcement of the surrender started mass celebrations across the United States, which was when he declared September 2 as the official "VJ Day" in 1945. In 1975, the holiday was abolished at the federal level leaving Rhode Island as the only state in the U.S. where the holiday is a legal holiday. Rhode Island has observed this day since 1948.

According to the Providence Journal, the reasons for the holiday being scrapped include Japan's "increasing economic might", which even Rhode Island had debates, with the Rhode Island Japan Society being the force toward removal of the holiday. The case was between the Japanese Americans and the U.S. veterans who fought in this particular war.[2]

In 1975, the U.S. state of Arkansas was the last state (other than Rhode island) to drop the holiday.[2]


Citizens and workers of Oak Ridge, Tennessee celebrate V-J Day.
  1. ^ "Victory Day". 
  2. ^ a b "It’s Victory Day, an only-in-Rhode Island institution since 1975". 

See also[edit]