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History Commemorates V-J Day

8/11/2005 10:44 AM Eastern

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of Victory in Japan Day, The History Channel will present a special on Aug. 14 featuring a host of activities from the Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.

In the course of the V-J Day events, which mark the end of World War II, on the Intrepid this Sunday, there will be a presentation of the Color Guard, former New York City Police Department Officer Daniel (“the singing cop”) Rodriguez will sing the national anthem and an American flag from the U.S.S. Missouri — where the surrender was signed — will be raised on the Intrepid in memory of those who lost their lives.

Actor Edward Herrmann will evoke the mood of the time with readings from momentous historical speeches, including FDR’s “Day of Infamy” speech delivered before Congress asking for a declaration of war, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s speech marking the end of the war.

Representatives of each of the armed services as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the United Service Organization, the Department of Defense and the American Legion and other dignitaries will be involved in a ceremony in which a 50-foot American flag will be unfurled and held at its edges by more than 100 invited veterans, while Rodriguez sings “America the Beautiful.” The unfurling of the flag will be followed by a military flyover by Vintage World War II–era aircraft in tribute to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and volunteers who took up arms to defend freedom.

These and other activities will be showcased on the 97-minute TV special, VJ Day 60th Anniversary, beginning at 9:23 p.m. that evening. The show will also include segments on America’s historic island hopping campaign in the Pacific, from the tragedy of Pearl Harbor to the pivotal battle of Midway and storming the beaches of Iwo Jima.

“Our mission at The History Channel is to present relevant television programming that speaks to peoples’ lives,” said senior vice president of programming Charlie Maday in a statement. “We are proud to honor all of the brave men and women who tirelessly contribute to the defense of our nation, here and abroad, year in and year out. On this momentous occasion marking the anniversary of the end of the war in the Pacific, we join with the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum to pay special tribute to the courageous veterans who served during World War II to secure our country’s freedom.”

September