Gold Star Museum to commemorate 70th anniversary of WWII’s end

Gold Star MuseumFrom Press Release


The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum will host a commemoration ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 6:30 p.m. in honor of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the unconditional surrender by Japan, officially ending WWII. The public and media are cordially invited to attend this event.

The museum, located on Camp Dodge, 7105 NW 70th Avenue, Johnston, will feature four guest speakers for the event: Jim Vermeer, the son of Elmer “Dutch” Vermeer, a former Iowa state representative and U.S. Army Ranger who fought in Europe; Jerry Yellin, a fighter pilot who fought in the Pacific theater; Ed Reed, whose uncle and cousin from eastern Iowa were fighter pilots in the European and China-Burma-India theaters; and Wayne Brown, a Marshall County farmer who fought in multiple battles during the European campaign.

Vermeer’s father served four and-a-half years with the U.S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Infantry Battalion, V Corps, in the European Theatre of Operations. An engineer from Pella, Dutch Vermeer scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, France, to destroy an enemy gun emplacement as part of the D-Day invasion in June 1944.

Yellin, 91, a Fairfield resident, fought in the Pacific and at Iwo Jima with the 78th Fighter Squadron as a P-51 “Mustang” fighter pilot. He went on to fly 19 missions over Japan, including the last combat mission there during WWII. He is author of four books and national spokesperson for the “Spirit of ’45 Day.”

Reed, a Marion native who lives in Omaha, will talk about the service of his uncle, William “Bill” N. Reed, and cousin, William R. “Dick” Reed, both from Marion, who flew P-40 Tomahawk fighter aircraft during WWII.

Brown, 92, of Marshalltown, an infantryman during the European campaign, fought during the Normandy invasion, the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge, and other engagements during WWII.

President Harry S. Truman appointed Gen. Douglas MacArthur to head the Allied occupation of Japan as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. For the site of Japan’s formal surrender, Truman chose the USS Missouri, a battleship that had seen considerable action in the Pacific and was named after Truman’s native state. MacArthur, instructed to preside over the surrender, delayed the ceremony until September 2 in order to allow time for representatives of all the major Allied nations to arrive.

On Sunday, Sept. 2, 1945 more than 250 Allied warships lay at anchor in Japan’s Tokyo Bay. As the flags of the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and China fluttered above the deck of the USS Missouri, just after 9 a.m. Tokyo time, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed the peace treaty on behalf of the Japanese government, followed by Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu, who signed for the Japanese armed forces. MacArthur next signed on behalf of the Allied Powers as the Supreme Commander, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz signed the treaty for the United States, and representatives from all of the Allied nations signed the surrender document. As the 23-minute ceremony ended, the most devastating war in human history, costing more than 60 million lives, was over.