Doris Shea Strand: "A Wild Celebration!"
The end of the war was welcome news to all Americans. Doris Shea Strand, who was living in Minneapolis when the Japanese surrendered, remembered V-J Day in an oral history conducted in 2002.
TS: Doris, you were also in San Diego when the news came that the Germans had surrendered, V-E Day, May of 1945. What was the reaction in your workplace to that news?
DS: I think being on the West Coast everybody was so concerned about the Pacific Theater. Well, we were glad that that part was over, because we all had friends or relatives that were involved in the European Theater, but I don't think it had as much of an impact as other parts of the country. Mainly because I’m thinking we were so Pacific-oriented.
TS: The Marines and Navy were there, and they were Pacific-focused. By the time the Japanese had surrendered, your life had changed a bit. You had moved back home.
DS: I was back in Minneapolis. That was a wild celebration. I was pregnant at that time, but we all had to go downtown and help in the celebrating.
TS: Did you go to downtown Minneapolis?
DS: Oh, sure.
TS: What was the atmosphere like in downtown?
DS: It was just jubilation. The streets were full and there was no traffic. Everybody was really so joyful and so relieved. The feeling that, “Now we can get on with our life.”
TS: Where were things in downtown Minneapolis? Where did things take place?
DS: We were on Hennepin Avenue. I went home because, like I said, I was pregnant and I didn’t want to be jostled around. It was just solid people on Hennepin. Just a lot of hooting and hollering and whatever. It was a great day.
TS: For you personally, were you already thinking this would mean that your husband wouldn’t have to go back overseas?
DS: Yes. That was the biggest relief. He’d had one foot on the ship for about six months there. So I thought, “At least we don’t have to worry about that any more. We’ll still have a life.”
TS: So there was a sense of community jubilation, but also for you personally.
DS: A sense of relief. It was good.
Strand, Doris Shea; Thomas Saylor, Interviewer, Minnesota's Greatest Generation Oral History Project, Thomas Saylor; Minnesota Historical Society Oral History Collection, 2002.