PICKENS COUNTY — The Aug. 23, 1945, edition of The Pickens Sentinel features a banner headline that reads the following: “126 Pickens County Men Lose Lives in World War II” and is followed by a list of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom, nearly 70 years ago
With the 70th anniversary of World War II on the horizon, there is an opportunity to remember these men and others.
A two-day celebration of the end of World War II on Aug. 14 and Aug. 15 in Liberty with two days of activities planned to be highlighted by an escorted parade of veterans in honor of their service.
“We want to honor our fallen heroes there before us because if it wasn’t for their efforts and sacrifices none of us would have the lifestyle we want,” said Sgt. Major Jr. Shove of the U.S. Military Transportation and Maintenance and one of the organizers of the event. “It’s important for everyone to thank the remaining survivors of WWII while we still can. We lose more and more every day that passes and we need to remember them and all they have done.”
The official end of WWII wasn’t until Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese military and government signed the unconditional surrender documents presented by Gen. Douglas MacArthur aboard the USS Missouri, one of the victims of the surprise attack on Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 6, 1941.
The date when the organized shooting of both sides ceased and it was announced Japan had surrendered is known as V-J Day — Aug. 14, 1945 — when the Potsdam Declaration, or offer of terms, were accepted.
While the celebration in Liberty is based on this date, Shove says the Liberty event is for more than just World War II veterans.
“We want to honor not only our remaining survivors of WWII, we want to honor those who served in Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War era as well,” he said. “Each of these generations of soldiers deserve to be remembered for all they’ve done for our country the best way we can. It’s important for the people in Pickens County to come out and show their support.”
The weekend’s activities will include a car show from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 14 along with vendors. The activities scheduled for Aug. 15 include color guard and 21 gun salutes, along with guest speakers and an escorted procession of veterans into the old Liberty Hugh School football stadium where the event will take place.
Shove said the high alert status of military personnel in the United States has created vacancies at the celebration, opening up slots to the public.
Along with USMTM, the celebration has a long list of groups and organizations involved including the Currahee Military Museum of Toccoa, Ga., 1st Battalion, 505th Co. C, NC/SC, VA of South Carolina, upstate first responders, and various other military organizations.
The anniversary celebration also is an effort to raise funds for two causes: Honor Flight and the Wounded Warrior Project.
“Every dollar donated will go to help fund and assist with Honor Flight and the Wounded Warrior Project,” Shove said. “These are two groups that need our help and they will get any donations we pick up.”
Call 864-843-3177, ext. 6, or US MTM at 864-952-9477 if interested in participating as a vendor or volunteer, or to make a donation.
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.