V-J Day New Orleanians, after celebrating the end of the war prematurely three times, let loose with everything they had when the official world of peace spread through the streets Tuesday near dinner time.
V-J Day: New Orleanians, after celebrating the end of the war prematurely three times, let loose with everything they had when the official word of peace spread through the streets near dinner time.Oscar J. Valenton, Sr. – The Times Picayune
V-J Day New Orleanians, after celebrating the end of the war prematurely three times, let loose with everything they had when the official world of peace spread through the streets Tuesday near dinner time.
The National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum
V-J Day: New Orleanians, after celebrating the end of the war prematurely three times, let loose with everything they ha
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Oscar J. Valenton, Sr. – The Times Picayune
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See Participants in V-J Day Parade Reunited 70 Years Later

Aug 15, 2015

She barely remembers the day—she was only 8, and 70 years have gone by—but Linda Torres can recall the happiness she felt when she heard that World War II was ending. The news that Japan was surrendering meant that her father, Lloyd Lusse, who was serving with the Army in the Philippines, would soon be coming home.

"When [my mother] got the word, and everywhere in the neighborhood horns were blowing and everything else, she grabbed the American flag off the front of the porch and went and got a fishing pole, a cane pole, and she made a flag with that," Torres tells TIME. "And everybody gathered up and started parading down the street.”

A newspaper photographer happened to pass by as the paraders marched. The photograph ran in the New Orleans Times-Picayune the next day, Aug. 15, 1945—the day often considered V-J Day, even though the war didn't officially end until early September. Now, the Times-Picayune and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans have uncovered the identities of many of the participants and brought them back together to mark the 70th anniversary.

“New Orleans is very familiar with parades. That’s what people do when something joyous happens," says Keith Huxen, the museum's chief historian. "I think this photograph speaks to people because [of] the context of what had just ended. World War II is by far the bloodiest war in human history and, particularly for young Americans who had gone overseas and fought and seen a lot of death, this is the moment where people know that they’re going to live.”

The project of tracking down the paraders began months ago as part of an effort to preserve the history of the war and of the building of the post-war world. "We capture the voices of a generation that unfortunately is rapidly disappearing from the scenes," Huxen says. "Preserving that legacy for future generations to learn from is I think very important."

Linda Torres' memories of that day may be the spotty ones of a little girl, but they include indelible details. Among them: her father didn't come home immediately because he was on a crew assigned to mop-up duty in Hiroshima. For Roland Jauchler Jr.—the 10-year-old with the trumpet in the original picture—it's a reminder of good times with people who are mostly gone.

“We were all happy, elated that the war was over," he tells TIME. "That’s about all I can remember."

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V-J Day, 1945: A Nation Lets Loose

Caption from the August 27, 1945, issue of LIFE. "In the middle of New York's Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers."
Caption from the Aug. 27, 1945, issue of LIFE. "In the middle of New York's Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers."Alfred Eisenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Caption from the August 27, 1945, issue of LIFE. "In the middle of New York's Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers."
Contact sheet images from Alfred Eisenstaedt's film, Aug. 14, 1945.
Times Square, August 14, 1945 Ñ V-J Day.
"New York's garment district is snowed under by cloth scraps and snips of all colors and materials."
V-J Day in New York City, August 14, 1945.
V-J Day in New York City, August 14, 1945.
V-J Day in New York City, August 14, 1945.
New York's Times Square, August 14, 1945 — V-J Day.
V-J Day in New York City, August 14, 1945.
Celebrations in Washington, DC, August 14, 1945 Ñ V-J Day.
"On Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles carousing servicemen neck atop the hood of a careening jeep. The city rocked with joy as impromptu pedestrian parades and motor cavalcades whirled along, hindered only by hurled whiskey bottles, amorous drunks and collisions."
"In San Francisco sailors break into a liquor store and pilfer the stock. Revel turned into a riot as tense servicemen, reprieved from impending Pacific war-zone duty, defaced statues, over-turned street cars, ripped down bond booths, attacked girls. The toll: 1,000 casualties."
Celebrations in Chicago, August 14, 1945 Ñ V-J Day.
Celebrations in Chicago, August 14, 1945 Ñ V-J Day.
Celebrations in Chicago, August 14, 1945 Ñ V-J Day.
Celebrations in Chicago, August 14, 1945 Ñ V-J Day.
Caption from the Aug. 27, 1945, issue of LIFE. "In the middle of New York's Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her
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Alfred Eisenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Imag
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