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Celebrating VE Day

The Pulaski Southwest Times of May 7, 1945, had headlines two and a half inches high stating, “Nazis Surrender.”
World War II in Europe came to an end for Germany at 2:41 a.m., French time. The paper carried text of the official statement of surrender by German Foreign Minister Ludevig Schweria Krosigk, which was addressed to the German people. With this announcement, all fighting was to cease.
When word of the surrender reached Pulaski County, the celebration of VE (Victory in Europe) Day began immediately. Blasts went out from whistles of most of the industries in towns all over the county, and the same was true for the entire United States.
Everyone in Pulaski who owned a flag raised it to the top after flying it for weeks at half-staff in memory of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had passed away.
Doors to businesses were closed, and crowds gathered on street corners all over town, while some people just stood in the streets. Drivers of automobiles joined in the celebration, waving flags and blowing horns.
The VE Day celebration had already begun in a big way. It had been planned by the Pulaski Ministerial Association, and the headquarters was the county courthouse grounds.
Rev. W.W. Arrowood was in charge, and the lawn and Main Street were filled with happy people. Court adjourned for the day, and schools were dismissed early. Patriotic programs were held in every county school. Everyone was joyful about the good news, but at the end of most every happy statement was, “Wonderful, but how about Japan?”
In the same edition of the paper was a story bemoaning the fact that the United Mine Workers Union was standing firm of its vow not to go back to work without a contract. The shutdown of the coal mines was beginning to have a serious affect on other industries.
The United Mine Workers general body of the Glen Alden Coal Company voted solidly to stand behind John L. Lewis and to not return to work without a contract being signed, despite an order that miners return to work “this morning.” All of this was going on while the nation was celebrating the greatest military victory in the annals of American history. Looking back on this, it is hard for one not involved to believe this was happening in the war against the Axis powers while Germany and most of the other powers were on their knees. One has to question the wisdom of the United Mine Workers at this particular time.
Now, continuing with the big news story of that day, The Southwest Times reported on Pulaski’s continuing celebration a flash, stating that “everyone is taking a holiday.”
Pandemonium broke loose.
There were many ways of expressing the fact that Germany had been defeated, such as “the greatest war in history ended today with the unconditional surrender of Germany,” but there was still a shadow of uneasiness.
The great joy was tempered with the realization that the war against Japan was yet be resolved and that many casualties lay ahead.
Civil defense did not stop with the defeat of Germany.
To be continued.
Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and local historian who lives in Pulaski.

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Celebrating VE Day

The Pulaski Southwest Times of May 7, 1945, had headlines two and a half inches high stating, “Nazis Surrender.”
World War II in Europe came to an end for Germany at 2:41 a.m., French time. The paper carried text of the official statement of surrender by German Foreign Minister Ludevig Schweria Krosigk, which was addressed to the German people. With this announcement, all fighting was to cease.
When word of the surrender reached Pulaski County, the celebration of VE (Victory in Europe) Day began immediately. Blasts went out from whistles of most of the industries in towns all over the county, and the same was true for the entire United States.
Everyone in Pulaski who owned a flag raised it to the top after flying it for weeks at half-staff in memory of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had passed away.
Doors to businesses were closed, and crowds gathered on street corners all over town, while some people just stood in the streets. Drivers of automobiles joined in the celebration, waving flags and blowing horns.
The VE Day celebration had already begun in a big way. It had been planned by the Pulaski Ministerial Association, and the headquarters was the county courthouse grounds.
Rev. W.W. Arrowood was in charge, and the lawn and Main Street were filled with happy people. Court adjourned for the day, and schools were dismissed early. Patriotic programs were held in every county school. Everyone was joyful about the good news, but at the end of most every happy statement was, “Wonderful, but how about Japan?”
In the same edition of the paper was a story bemoaning the fact that the United Mine Workers Union was standing firm of its vow not to go back to work without a contract. The shutdown of the coal mines was beginning to have a serious affect on other industries.
The United Mine Workers general body of the Glen Alden Coal Company voted solidly to stand behind John L. Lewis and to not return to work without a contract being signed, despite an order that miners return to work “this morning.” All of this was going on while the nation was celebrating the greatest military victory in the annals of American history. Looking back on this, it is hard for one not involved to believe this was happening in the war against the Axis powers while Germany and most of the other powers were on their knees. One has to question the wisdom of the United Mine Workers at this particular time.
Now, continuing with the big news story of that day, The Southwest Times reported on Pulaski’s continuing celebration a flash, stating that “everyone is taking a holiday.”
Pandemonium broke loose.
There were many ways of expressing the fact that Germany had been defeated, such as “the greatest war in history ended today with the unconditional surrender of Germany,” but there was still a shadow of uneasiness.
The great joy was tempered with the realization that the war against Japan was yet be resolved and that many casualties lay ahead.
Civil defense did not stop with the defeat of Germany.
To be continued.
Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and local historian who lives in Pulaski.

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