The anniversary of V-J Day: These iconic photos are just as powerful today

Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945.
Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945. (Getty Images)

It happened in less than 30 minutes, but that’s all it took to create one of the most famous moments in history.

It might not have been a long ceremony aboard the USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945, but it was one of the most significant ever, producing images that will forever be etched in the minds of Americans and others around the world who celebrated that day.

Thursday marks V-Jay Day, the anniversary of Japan signing its surrender documents during a ceremony in Tokyo Bay that was broadcast around the world, signifying the official end of World War II.

However, it should be noted that V-Jay Day is celebrated on different days in other countries.

While it’s commemorated on Sept. 2 in the United States, V-Jay Day is celebrated on Aug. 15 in other countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, South Korea and Australia.

While Sept. 2 was the day of the surrender documents being officially signed, Aug. 15 was when then Japanese Emperor Hirohito broadcast the surrender to the country on the radio, so other countries choose to acknowledge that date as the anniversary.

But no matter the date of commemoration, whether in color or in black and white, the photos of the surrender ceremony are just as striking, 76 years later.

Take a look back on that day by viewing the photos below.

Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945. (Getty Images)
Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945. (Getty Images)
Americans celebrate as Japan officially signs surrender documents on Sept. 2, 1945. (Getty Images)
Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945. (Getty Images)
Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945. (Getty Images)
Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945. (Getty Images)
Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945. (Getty Images)
Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945. (Getty Images)
Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945 (Getty Images)
Scenes aboard the USS Missouri as Japan signed its official surrender documents to end World War II on Sept 2, 1945. (Getty Images)

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Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.