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Memories of a massive moment

A local tradition relating to World War II resurfaced early this month, with an invitation going out to local veterans from the days when names such as Eisenhower, Hitler, Churchill, Mussolini, Patton, Tojo and Stalin were in headlines around the world on a daily basis. Jim Bell, Bob Lemon, Joe Hall and Jack Kendall gathered for a few minutes Sept. 2, recalling Sept. 2, 1945, the date of Japan's signing for the official end of World War II's hostilities.

The custom of taking a group picture every five years started when local businessman Sam Woodring (who, with his wife, Mim, owned and edited The Star from 1954 to 1998) joined some of his fellow WWII veterans for a photo on one of the surrender's five-year anniversaries. American Legion Post 71 was the host site for the most recent such pictures.

The national organization's website notes, "On Sept. 2, 1945, Japan surrendered to the United States, when documents were signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, officially ending the deadliest military conflict in human history. An estimated 30 to 35 million people died during the war, including 400,000 Americans."