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How Columbia reacted to war’s end 75 years ago

The fighting in World War II ended 75 years ago on Aug. 14, 1945, when Japanese Emperor Hirohito accepted the Allies’ surrender terms. In its August issue The Tyrrell Times reported local reaction to the long-awaited news this way:

“President Truman’s official announcement on Tuesday evening, August 14, at 7 o’clock, that the war had ended affected people in Columbia differently. Some rang church bells, others blew automobile horns and the fire siren whistle, while many prayed in their homes and a few went to the churches to offer special prayers of thanksgiving. The Rotary Club was meeting at the time and had a special prayer period led by the Rev. W. A. Hales.

“Two typical groups on Main Street while the bells were ringing and the whistles were blowing give an idea of how happy all were:

“In one group an elderly lady who had two sons in service was jumping up and down and clapping her hands while a large crowd of women and children gathered around her taking and laughing. In the other group a wife whose husband was then on a ship in the Japanese waters, a sister whose brother was in Belgium and a mother with one son in the Army in America and the other one in Europe were embracing each other and crying for joy.

“Later on during the evening the residents of Columbia gathered in their own homes to celebrate with their families and to listen to the radio which told of the happiest Americans had ever been.”

The Tyrrell Times also reported that:

“A V-J Prayer Service conducted by Major Billy Shallington was held at the Columbia Methodist Church Sunday night. The service was opened by singing Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow followed by America.

“Staff Sgt. Chester Tweedy read the Scripture lesson, Psalm 37:1-11 and Psalm 117. A chain of sentence prayers of praise and thanksgiving were led by Mrs. E. J. Brickhouse and closed by Shelton Ludford.

“The Battle Hymn of the Republic was sung by the congregation, and Mrs. W. H. McClees read a poem, And Now Peace. J.C. Meekins was the speaker for the service, and he stressed the need of faith in Christ as a mean of continual peace. After singing Onward Christian Soldiers, Mrs. John Lawrence closed the service with a very impressive prayer.”