Small crowd attends ceremony to mark victory in the Pacific

END OF THE WAR: Returned Services League representative Les McGaw and Councillor Ron Gander lay a wreath on the cenotaph at yesterday’s service to mark the end of the war in the Pacific. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

END OF THE WAR: Returned Services League representative Les McGaw and Councillor Ron Gander lay a wreath on the cenotaph at yesterday’s service to mark the end of the war in the Pacific. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

IT was a day like no other, August 15, 1945 when the shops and businesses in Orange closed their doors and people flooded into Summer Street to celebrate the end of the war in the Pacific.

It was a conflict that affected almost every family in Orange, with almost a million Australians, both men and women, serving in World War II.

But in contrast to the growing number of people gathering to commemorate Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and Vietnam Veterans Day in Orange, only a handful of people gathered at the Cenotaph  to stand beside ex-service personnel and RSL representatives to mark Victory in the Pacific (VP) Day.

RSL president Lindsay Wright said Orange celebrated a two-day holiday when victory in the Pacific was declared.

“It was Prime Minister Ben Chifley who made the announcement just after 9am,” he said.

An elderly Orange resident who was working at the Western Stores in Summer Street at the time said  VP Day was unique.

“Someone ran into the shop and said the war was over,” she said.

“We shut the doors and went out into Summer Street and other people were doing the same.

“By the end of the day when the message had got around Orange people just all came down in to Summer Street and it was a great atmosphere.

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