Canadian veterans honoured 70 years after victory over Japan
70 years after the Japanese surrender on August 15th, 1945 ended the Second World War in the Pacific, BC’s war veterans and Vancouver’s Chinese-Canadian community joined together to mark the milestone with a special day-long public commemorative event in Chinatown.
A special commemoration ceremony honouring Canadian veterans was held at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver on the morning of Saturday, August 15th, followed by public exhibits, displays of vintage military vehicles and entertainment on Columbia Street that afternoon.
The opening ceremony at the David Lam Exhibition Hall honoured the more than 10,000 Canadians, including more than 600 Chinese-Canadians, who fought Japanese forces in the Pacific over the course of the Second World War.
The Japanese surrender finally came on August 15th, 1945, days after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The surrender not only ended the Second World War, but also the Sino-Japanese War between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan that started in 1937, which by 1941, had become part of the larger war in the Pacific.
“Little known is the fact that Canada also contributed guerrilla forces to the Pacific campaign. It is, therefore, proper and fitting that we honour their struggles and sacrifices on this 70th anniversary of V-J Day,” says Colonel (Ret’d) Howe Lee, Founder of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum & Former Director of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver. “Force 136 operated in Burma for example. Some members of this special operations team were Chinese-Canadian resistance operatives who were able to work mostly undetected behind enemy lines to sabotage infrastructure and stop the march of Japanese soldiers. Canadian soldiers were clearly important in significantly helping the war effort both on the front lines, and behind the scenes. This Saturday, we will remember their contributions.”
In 2011, 66 years after the war ended, Japan finally issued an official apology to hundreds of Canadian soldiers held prisoner during the Pacific War. 267 of those POWs died in Japanese camps. The surviving Canadian POWs are now in their 80s and 90s and many more had died before hearing that apology.
- Editor:Annabelle | Source: CNTVNA/Agencies
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