The QiRanger Adventures

Independence Day

with 3 comments

Taegukgi Placement - Photo by Jo Miller

August 15th is celebrated as Korean Independence Day each year. I find the title a little strange, since most of the world celebrates it as V-J Day.

Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or V-P Day) is a name chosen for the day on which the Surrender of Japan occurred, effectively ending World War II, and subsequent anniversaries of that event. The term has been applied to both the day on which the initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made in the afternoon of August 15, 1945 in Japan and to August 14, 1945 in the United States when it was announced because of time zone differences in the Western Europe, the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and Australia, and to September 2, 1945 when the formal signing of the surrender was made. September 2 is the official V-J Day in the US[1]. The name V-J Day had been selected by the Allies after they named V-E Day for the victory in Europe. – Wikipedia

Each year as this time rolls around in Korea, public servants take to the streets and hang Taegukgis (Korean National Flags) on every lamppost. It serves as a powerful reminder that Korea exited from the brutal colonial occupational period. At my school this year, we took time to remember the events surrounding Japan’s surrender during the war.

All the events surrounding VJ Day mean a lot more to me this year after being in the Philippines and seeing where my uncle served and endured as a POW. It really makes you understand the sacrifices that so many made. Unfortunately, many younger Koreans don’t really learn what happened. That is a shame. It’s also a shame, that 65 years later, many Koreans can’t move past the colonial period. They are imprisoned within their own memories, waiting for apologies and compensation that will never come. To truly be free and independent, one must exercise forgiveness.


Written by Steve Miller

August 15, 2010 at 8:13 am

3 Responses

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  1. I echo your sentiments in the last paragraph.


    August 15, 2010 at 1:35 pm

  2. It’s a shame that people don’t remember the sufferings and sacrifices the elder generations went though. But I think it’s partly because, at least here in Norway, we learn about the world’s war history at a too early age in my opinion, and as young kids, we have no way to truly understand what that war meant.

    For an example, we did learn about Hiroshima and Nagasaki in school, but at that point, it really didn’t mean anything to me, because I was too young and couldn’t understand it.

    Now years later, and I’ve actually been to Hiroshima and seen the dome, it meant much more to me, and I could take in much more of it.


    August 15, 2010 at 6:53 pm

  3. “To truly be free and independent, one must exercise forgiveness.”

    I think you pretty much nailed it man. If fact, many if not most problems in this world (or people’s lives) could be solved if we all stuck to this…

    Got me thinking at least.



    August 16, 2010 at 9:53 pm

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