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Most Saturdays in 2020 the Advocate will publish a historical story in celebration of its bicentennial this year. This story appeared on the front page of the Aug. 15, 1945 edition celebrating what became known as VJ Day – the end of World War II. The page was dominated with a massive headline “PEACE!” that included photos within each letter. This story recounts how people in Licking County celebrated the day. To suggest a historical story to republish, send an email to advocate@newarkadvocate.com.

City’s Celebration Exploded Like Block Buster; Safe But Insane

The City of Newark – which took V-E day in stride – “busted out all over” about 7:01 p.m. Tuesday, just an eye-wink after President Truman announced Japan’s unconditional surrender.

It mast have been hoarded gasoline that suddenly released hundreds – seemingly thousands – of cars in the downtown section.

Horns tooted, sirens sounded and shouts rang on the summer air.

To add to the excitement, fire apparatus was called out several times, but fortunately no serious fire resulted.

Strangely, Advocate phones, which almost melted from constant ringing on previous occasions when big news broke, were almost silent.

Developments having come at the dinner hour, most Newark and Licking county folks were forewarned. Their ears were glued to the radio to hear the President’s promised announcement.

Press and radio men at the White House heard the momentous news which the world has awaited for four years.

The war is over!

Catholics worshiped last night in St. Francis de Sales church. Significant was the fact that Tuesday, the eve of the Feast of the Assumption, commemorates the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Patron of the United States.

Today the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed at both St. Francis de Sales and the Church of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy hour will be held at 7 p.m. in the Church of the Blessed Sacrament.

Protestants were planning to meet in city’s churches at special commemorative services in thanksgiving for total victory. Services were generally scheduled for 7:30 p.m., with special music and prayers for worshipers. The Second Presbyterian church said no services would be held tonight because of no regular pastor.

Street and traffic lights were out for some time during the height of the victory celebration. The street lights were restored after fuses of insufficient voltage to carry standby services were replaced with 100 ampere fuses. Repairs are being made to the old turbo-generator.

Restaurants were closed so Mr. and Mrs. Walter O. Gregory sent 1 a.m. dinners to police and Mayor James E. Neighbor.

Arrests were few – three who drank not wisely but too well, and a red light crasher.

Mayor Neighbor thanked all organizations and Newark citizens for helping to make the victory celebration a “sane and patriotic one.”

Police Officer Dewey Hayes hit the surrender time on the nose by saying that Japan would fold from three to six months after the Nazis threw in the sponge. Hayes was a gob in the Pacific fleet in World War I.

Detective Chief Clyde C. Hupp predicted the surrender announcement from Washington would come at 10 p.m. our time. He missed by only three hours but picked the date right, Aug. 14.

Firecrackers – not seen hereabouts for several years – mysteriously made their appearance soon after unconditional surrender was announced. They added to the din.

A tiny Austin car, carrying so many youngsters the car itself was invisible joined the mad motorcade about the square. It broke down several times from sheer smothering.

Armistace day in 1918 came on a crisp, frosty dawn Nov. 11. Those who remember 27 years ago found contrast in the balmy August night which marked the unconditional surrender of the Sons of Heaven.

One hundred wounded veterans from Fletcher General hospital, Cambridge, were dancing at the Crystal ballroom, Buckeye Lake park, when news of the Japs’ final surrender reached the central Ohio resort. Three army men and a sailor rushed the bandstand, shoved Orchestra Leader Lee Kelton to one side, and picked up his petite blues singer. As The Advocate photographer snapped a picture, he heard a woman standing behind him remark: “You’d think that photographer would put their wives in that picture!”

Charles Dowling, Jr., band instructor at Newark high school gathered a few of his band members about him shortly after the celebration got underway here and staged several impromptu concerts around the public square. Street corner crowds got a big kick out of the little band’s snappy presentation of old-time favorites.

Taking the worst beating in the endless parade that continued to circle the public square for hours after President Truman’s message was made public was a small Austin automobile. Nearly 50 children piled on the car at one time, and finally two service men took charge. One celebrant, apparently fearful of an early winter, straddled the car’s radiator and frequently poured the contents of a bottle of beer into the belching engine.

To obtain an eye witness account of Newark’s V-J celebration and spot newspictures of the local activity, Advocate Reporter Angelo Maschio and Photographer Bill Diehl first drove throughout the city in a police cruiser, then switched to a sheriff’s cruiser to take in the rest of the county.

Some wags were betting the vehicles circling the square were radio-controlled – because they were covered entirely by passengers and it was almost impossible for the driver to see where he was going.

Biggest downtown crowds gathered on the corner across from the Newark Trust building and at West Main and Third streets. Skillets and pie pans were recruited quickly in kitchens at home and used by the celebrants in contributing to the noise hub-bub.

While horns honked loudly downtown, Newarkites in the residential district remained quite calm, taking to their front porches and conversing with neighbors over the “biggest topic of all time.”

Roadhouses were quick to close their doors. Traffic in the county and on state routes was light. by midnight, there was not a sign of unusual activity in Hebron, Etna, Pataskala and Granville.

One farm youth rode into the city on a tractor and joined the procession as it circled the square.

Peter Androutsos, 31, South Second street, announced today that he has kept his vow not to shave until victory came. This vow was made on Dec. 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. He is planning a program for the “off with the Whiskers Day.”

The big fire bell in the city rang in celebration of victory in 1918. Fire Chief Stanley Shaw explained that the electric ringing device has been removed. It could not be run last night except by sending a man into the tower with a hammer to strike the bell.

Police Chief Gail Christman assigned a police officer to guard the Newark liquor store to discourage any celebrant who might be tempted to appropriate some of the stock

Auxiliary police of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars augmented the city police force in patrolling the downtown streets during the celebration.

Complying with the orders of police and sheriff, Newark and Licking county liquor places were closed promptly upon the President’s announcement.

With all the gasoline burned last night, filling stations were opened today for refills. Motorists apparently were hopeful of plenty of gas soon.

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