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Victory Day in the United States

Victory Day, also known as VJ Day, marks the anniversary the Allies’ victory over Japan during World War II. It followed the dropping of the devastating atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Victory Day is a state holiday in Rhode Island in the United States on the second Monday of August each year.

Victoria Day
Victory Day marks the anniversary the Allies’ victory during World War II.
Victory Day marks the anniversary the Allies’ victory during World War II.
©iStockphoto.com/simon askham

What Do People Do?

There have been many arguments and debates concerning the nature and name of this holiday. Veteran groups and their supporters observe Victory Day on the second Monday of August each year. Events may include a commemorative ceremony for veterans. Many people believe that there is a need for such a day to remember the sacrifices that veterans made during World War II, including those who were taken as prisoners of war, were tortured, injured or killed.

However critics claim that the day itself is discriminatory due to its reference to Japan in light of modern times. There have been many attempts to change the holiday’s name but so far it remains to be known as Victory Day. Nonetheless there are people who hope to one day celebrate the holiday under a new name or educate young Americans more about the Japanese culture in modern society.

Rhode Island celebrates Victory Day as a state holiday but many communities within the US hold special events to honor the day.

Public Life

State and municipal offices are closed in Rhode Island on Victory Day. Most banks are closed (although not all) but federal offices are open as are many stores, including retail stores, liquor stores and supermarkets. Mail delivery is on a regular schedule. Some bus services may not operate to their usual schedules during state holidays so those planning to use public transit services may need to check with the appropriate transport authorities prior to travel.


Victory Day, or VJ Day, commemorates the anniversary of Japan’s surrender to the Allies in 1945, ending World War II. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9, and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Manchuria in the previous week made the surrender inevitable.  President Harry S Truman’s announcement of the surrender set off street celebrations from coast to coast in the United States. The official end of the war did not occur until September 2, 1945, when General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender from General Yoshijiro Umezu aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

President Truman declared September 2 as the official VJ Day in 1945. In the newspapers across world that day, there were hundreds of photos of soldiers and civilians rejoicing together. VJ Day is a legal state holiday only in the state of Rhode Island. Rhode Island has celebrated this day since 1948.

One of the most famous photographs in the 20th century symbolizes the joyous atmosphere of street celebrations throughout the United States when President Truman announced Japan’s surrender in 1945.  The candid photo was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt and published in LIFE magazine. It features a sailor presumably returning home from the war and kissing a woman at Times Square in New York on August 14, 1945. Since then, about 11 men and three women have all claimed to be one of the two people in that photo.

Victory Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
MonAug 92010Victory DayState holidayRhode Island
MonAug 82011Victory DayState holidayRhode Island
MonAug 132012Victory DayState holidayRhode Island
MonAug 122013Victory DayState holidayRhode Island
MonAug 112014Victory DayState holidayRhode Island
MonAug 102015Victory DayState holidayRhode Island
MonAug 82016Victory DayState holidayRhode Island
MonAug 142017Victory DayState holidayRhode Island
MonAug 132018Victory DayState holidayRhode Island
MonAug 122019Victory DayState holidayRhode Island
MonAug 102020Victory DayState holidayRhode Island

Quick Facts

Victory Day, also known as VJ Day, is an annual state holiday celebrated on the second Monday in August in Rhode Island in the United States. It marks the anniversary of the Allies’ victory over Japan during World War II.

Victory Day 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018 (local in Rhode Island)

Victory Day 2019

Monday, August 12, 2019 (local in Rhode Island)


Name in other languages

Victory DayEnglish
Día de la VictoriaSpanish
יום הנצחוןHebrew
يوم النصرArabic
승리의 날Korean
Tag des SiegesGerman

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in August 2018 in the United States

Fun Holiday on August 13, 2018

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