HONOLULU — Officials organizing events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Hawaii say the coronavirus has not derailed the plans.
Planners expect to follow though with the schedule of Victory over Japan Day, or V-J Day, events Aug. 29 through Sept. 2 as uncertainty remains about COVID-19 health restrictions, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.
The theme of the events is “Salute Their Service, Honor Their Hope,” and the schedule includes several warplane flyovers and a ceremony on or next to the battleship Missouri, on which the U.S. accepted Japan’s unconditional surrender Sept. 2, 1945.
Tony Vericella, executive director of the 75th World War II Commemoration Committee in Hawaii, said that as of last week more than 30 World War II veterans from outside Hawaii and their family members had committed to attending the events in Oahu.
Vericella said the participation of veterans and others from the continental U.S. relies on the state lifting a 14-day self-quarantine for out-of-state travelers, which would be replaced with a mandate for visitors to undergo COVID-19 screening tests prior to arriving.
The Honolulu City Council last week urged Hawaii’s governor to consider delaying the plan until the rate of new coronavirus cases on the U.S. mainland and in Hawaii drops significantly.
Delaying the events would be a disservice to veterans in the age group that has come to be known the “Greatest Generation.” If they cannot attend in person, the commemoration can still be brought to them via live feeds, Vericella said.
A Washington, D.C., event commemorating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day, scheduled for May 8 was postponed due to the coronavirus.
More than 100 aircraft were expected to fly over the National Mall and National World War II Memorial, but the flyover was rescheduled for Sept. 25.