VICTORY HOLIDAY TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW
Singing And Dancing PEOPLE'S PENT-UP v EMOTIONS FREED Auckland whirled to-day in the space of a few moments from normal business quiet into a frenzy of excitement released by the sudden burst of siren wails. "This is it!" they screamed exultantly. "This is The Day"; and all Auckland echoed their message—echoed it in rushing floods of people from business premises on to city streets; echoed it in cataracts of streamers and torn papers poured from office and factory windows on to crowds below; echoed it in hooting motor car horns; echoed it in singing, dancing, temporarily crazy hordes of young and old Aucklanders. It was expected, but it was still a surprise—a grand, glorious, never-to-be-forgotten surprise. Across the atmospheric spaces, borne on radio waves, the calm voice of Britain's Prime Minister bore the news of victory, as— just six years ago—another quiet but shaken voice had brought the grim news of war. "Japan has surrendered!" . . . Magnificent, earth-circling news," news so momentous that it wrenched workmen from their benches, their lathes, their machines; seized soldiers in training from their parade grounds; brought children from their school desks; and uplifted mothers and housewives from their home labours. Let them ring, let them hoot, let them scream—loudly, continuously—those sirens of joy! And let voices join them. The war is over. Say it again, testingly, lingeringly, to get the full flavour of it. The war is over! This said the calm voice of Britain's Prime Minister. This said New Zealand's Prime Minister. It is true at last. No more .false alarms, no more hesitancy about accepting it. .It has come at last.
The Crowds Let Go
Into the streets poured crowds to let loose years of pent up emotion. This was a greater occasion by far than D Day, VE Day . . . than any other day. It was all over, the war that had gripped the world so crazily for six long years. And the crowds let go. The Sun Breaks Through It had been raining this morning. More rain after long hours of rain. But at the very moment that the sirens poured forth, so came the sun, radiantly, prophetically, from the clouds. And Auckland celebrated in sunshine, on wet streets. The sun was welcome, but it is doubtful if teeming rain would have dampened the crowd's spirits at that moment of exultation. Gone was all thought of reserve. Auckland yelled, linked arms, .crowded the streets, blocked the traffic, threw confetti, wave flags, wore funny hats and cardboard masks—even kissed, and did not, for once, care who looked on. Underfoot the litter grew and grew. What a-.job for the street-cleaners! But, who "cared. ... Not even the street cleaners. It was worth it for an occasion like this. Hotel bars crowded, packed, jammed until those inside were like so many milling steers in a sals day pen. And nobody cared about that, not even the rushing barmen. Not so long as everybody was letting down the golden sliprails, yelling, singing, telling all the world that they were happy. Planes Over the Harbour Against- the fleecy-lined sky of white and dirty grey cloud ma'sses scores of brilliant flares burst in clusters of red and green as the news of Japan's surrender was announcedThe stars, luminously liquid, had a gravity-defying quality unlike the transient burst and splutter of oldtime "Chinese rockets.
They hovered, beautiful, above the green of the Waitemata, floating waterwards with a magic grace. Behind, trailed long shrouds of purewhite smoke, twisting into fantastic shapes.
Some of the stars gave an effect of red-eyed dragon's crawling across the sky. Pea-green stars of a more lively temper .shot out of little white cloud-puffs with many crimson bursts, delighting watchers on the
western slopes of the city. This brilliant display coincided with the trumpeting and bellowing of the harbour craft. It lasted for the greater part of 45 minutes. Poor Housewives—Poor Shopkeepers And like so many shooting stars, too, but without their brilliancy, except in shining eyes, shot busy housewives from suburban residences. Not yet <jould they let down their work-day barriers. There was provisioning to be done. One, free to rejoice, could pity those scurrying suburban housewives, and the shop attendants who would cater for their wants. Two days' holidays to be provisioned for, and two short hours in which to do it all! So hurrying housewives with kitbags, prams, and flag-waving small children were the outwards signs of victory in the suburbs. These, and gathering, unregulated crowds about the doors of every butcher, baker and grocer. Poor housewives — poor shopkeepers. Trying to hold in that inward excitement, trying to do business when all the world was going joy-crazy! From Suburbs to Coney-Island Whirl A journey by tram from the outer suburbs in that moment of victory, realisation was like a drunkard's passage from sobriety to his chosen Elysian Fields The bright-eyed, quiet good humour of first entry into the car, passed through successive stages with each further stop on the way. The sudden bursting in of a group of work-freed factory girls was the first cluster of stars to twinkle the brain in rhapsody, and it grew and grew, until youth, uninhibited, in the person of a flock of schoolboys equipped with trumpets, took possession, to lift that quiet tram-load to bursting smiles and excited talk. And then, as the tram entered Queen Street, it was in the midst of merriment. All was aglow. All was rapturous* All was good-fellowship. All was noise, and movement, and waving colours . . . and more noise. The Coney-Island whirl of the city was infectious, all-enveloping. It couldn't be gain-said, nor subdued, nor even held in check. Auckland was celebrating with a will.
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VICTORY HOLIDAY TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 192, 15 August 1945
VICTORY HOLIDAY TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 192, 15 August 1945
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