LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sept. 2 is National V-J Day, which commemorates when the Allied Forces took victory over Japan during World War II.
The six-year war left as many as 80 million military members and civilians dead. It was fought on every continent except Antarctica.
"They'd start shooting and our sergeant said, 'Keep your heads down, and when you bring up your head ... shoot to kill. Kill them because they're going to kill you," said former U.S. Army Corporal Vincent Gramarossa. "I tell you, I was so scared. I was 16 years old ... going on 17 ... I was scared."
The announcement of Japan's surrender came on Aug. 15, 1945. But it was on Sept. 2 when Japan formally surrendered aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. That was when President Harry Truman declared it V-J Day.
That day is still fresh in the minds of World War II veterans who remain in Louisville. To mark the milestone, a convoy of historic military vehicles took some of those veterans from Bowman Field to Jeffersontown Veterans Memorial Park on Thursday for a ceremony.
Gramarossa said he'll never forget how excited he was 76 years ago.
"I was so happy when the war was over, glad to get home to see my folks," he said. "I keep bringing back these memories, but I was so happy to get a big platter of spaghetti."
Gramarossa said the spaghetti was so much better than the military rations he had to eat during the war.
"I'm so grateful that we live in America, the United States of America," he said. "We're the greatest country in the world."
Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.