Kaua‘i’s World War II Victory Celebration
On September 2, 1945, World War II formally ended with Japan’s surrender on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. On Kaua‘i the following day, over 10,000 people from all parts of the island celebrated in Lihu‘e from 2 p.m. until midnight with a parade, baseball game, dancing, food concessions, local entertainment and other festivities in what was perhaps the largest public event ever held on the Garden Island.
Crowds lined both sides of Lihu‘e’s main street to watch the parade along a route decorated with multicolored naval signal flags that ran from the Lihue Theater to beyond the library (now Kauai Museum).
Hundreds marched and nearly three dozen floats passed in review. Most outstanding was one representing the famous flag-raising on Iwo Jima entered by the Kalaheo community.
Kaua‘i veterans who’d returned from military service marched in the place of honor at the head of the parade, and not to be forgotten that day were the sixty-three men from Kauai who’d died in the armed forces during the war.
Other marchers included a Navy band, Army, Navy and Marine units, Boy and Girl Scouts, Kauai’s 14 ILWU locals, Red Cross, Office of Civil Defense volunteers, World War I veterans, Kauai Volunteers and the Waimea High School band.
The “National Anthem” and “God Bless America” were sung by Miss Margaret Koerte; Lena Machado and her Hawaiian troupe performed; an Army baseball team defeated the Pono Canners, and dancing into the evening in the Lihue Armory featured jitterbug and waltz contests.
John Rego and Lillian Tung Loong garnered first prize in the jitterbug contest. The waltz was won by Kazue Nishimitsu and Chuck Collins, and first place in the amateur contest went to Gilbert Nunes with his imitation of Carmine Miranda.