By: Macy Goodnight | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: August 2019
Celebration in the streets of downtown Tulsa on V-J Day, 1945.
The Broken Arrow Military History Museum is well-known for promoting patriotism through the preservation of military history and presenting thoughtful and inspiring events that honor our veterans and encourage community support and education. On Aug. 14, 2019, at 7 p.m., they will host a celebration and tribute at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Broken Arrow, located at 1111 S. Main Street, in observance of 74th Anniversary of V-J Day, the day the Japanese surrendered at the end of WWII in 1945. A stirring evening of special guests and activities are planned, including Dr. Clarence G. Oliver as Master of Ceremonies, and Guest Speaker, Mark Howell, Board Member of the Military History Museum. Miss Tulsa 2017, Maggie Bond, will sing the Star-Spangled Banner’s first and fourth stanzas, and “Taps” will be played at sunset. Other surprises are in store for this free event, and all are welcome to come and learn more about this extraordinary day in American history while honoring those who served.
Frank Reisinger, event coordinator, first organized the tribute five years ago, to commemorate and celebrate the 70th anniversary of V-J Day. His perspective of the details of that day are unique and quite special from a local standpoint. Frank was 17 years old when he enlisted U.S. Army Air Corp in August 1944. After basic training, he served in various roles around the states, awaiting his deployment overseas. “On Aug. 4, 1945, I was on a train to St. Louis the day we heard the bomb had been dropped in Hiroshima,” said Frank. “Three days later, another was dropped in Nagasaki.” At 93 years old, Frank’s memories of the wartime are vivid and clear. “We were fighting for our lives, and not just ours, but the whole world’s.”
On Aug. 14, 1945, Frank was on furlough at home in Tulsa for a few days to spend time with his family before his next assignment. His father owned a jewelry store on the fourth floor of the same building which housed the Orpheum Theater, at fourth and Boston. “There was me, my mother and father, and my sister and little brother there that day,” said Frank.
“We didn’t have air conditioning, so all of the windows were open. That’s when we heard all the noise from the street below. People were honking car horns and cheering. Someone came busting through the door and said the Japanese had surrendered.” He recalls looking down on the street, and ticker tape and paper falling from higher buildings like snow,” he said. “My little brother and I went down the elevator and onto the street to catch all of the falling paper.” There were hundreds of people on the Downtown Tulsa streets that day, and they celebrated into the night. “The noise was deafening,” Frank said. Fortunately, someone happened to snap a photograph of Frank and his younger brother in the street at this incredible moment in time. “It was the most thrilling day of my life, next to the day I got married, of course,” said Frank with a smile. “We prevailed, and I feel that God was with us. This is my story, and it’s all true.”
For more information on The Broken Arrow Military History Museum and the V-J Day Commemoration, visit their website at okmhc.org, or call (918) 794-2712.
Event organizer and WWII Veteran, Frank Reisinger.