John T. Houston of the Linary community wrote a letter to his parents, who were living in Ohio at the time, that describes the melee at his camp on a Pacific island when he learned World War II was finally coming to a close. The Japanese had surrendered, and the soldiers were ecstatic. 

Dear Folks,

I have a little while to spare before I go to the movie so I’ll write a short one. I haven’t had any mail for the past three or four days so I haven’t been writing any either. I guess all my New Guinea mail has caught up to me so I should be getting mail direct to here in a few days. I have received about five Chronicles here and enjoyed them a lot.

How is things going around there now? I guess the celebrations are all over aren’t they? Did you folks go on a bender? I didn’t either. I hear things were pretty wild in Frisco so I suppose they were all over the U.S.  I was asleep the first night the news come out that Japan was surrendering and the  rest of the boys in my tent were at the movies when it was announced. They all left the show and come running back to the tent yelling like a bunch of wild Indians. At the same time they started shooting guns and flares all over the Island. I woke up right in the middle of all that and figured we were being attacked and knew the enemy was right on us if we were being attacked because the shooting was close and everybody running all around yelling. I put on my clothes quick and about that time one of the fellows came running in the tent, said something I didn’t understand, grabbed his gun and went outside and started shooting up in the air. My rifle was hanging on the bead of my cot so I was just about to grab it and start looking for Japs but I found out what it was all about and went outside to look at the fireworks. When I realized what was going on I was afraid some crazy fellow would hit me accidentally but they didn’t. You can’t imaging what it’s like to wake up in the middle of all that in a place like this. Some fellows got hurt during that celebration of course but none in my squadron. You can expect these fellows to be excited in a case like that but it’s too bad for that celebration to keep a few men from going home now that the war is over.

Well, I saw the movie and it was okay. We’ve been getting some pretty good ones lately. Of course the theatre here isn’t hardly like those at home but it’s nice to see a show even in the rain. It’s just a screen out in the open and a small shack for the projector. We all take our own seats. Some have folding chairs others take benches or boxes or cans. I take whatever I can get hold of. It’s been raining a lot lately and sure is muddy. It’s as bad as Nadzeb I believe. I suppose all these islands over here are either coral or mud.

Did you get your compensation and is Pa still working? I guess there is no need to ask if Pa is still working because if he isn’t I’ll probably be getting the letters from Tenn. I suppose you are both pretty tired of that place up there and will be glad to get home. You know there’s nothing much at Linary but we still like to be there. I can’t figure shy anyone ever settled that place unless it was a good place for hunting. The hunting is about all over and all there is left is scenery and fresh air but I like both.

Well, I’ll quit for tonight.

John