This the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. Sure, it was a huge cultural event and I love a lot of the musicians that were there, but I think this is a little more important.
On the afternoon of August 14, a Japanese radio broadcaster told the public that Emperor Hirohito would soon make an Imperial Proclamation announcing the defeat. The following day at noon, Hirohito went on the radio himself, blaming Japan’s surrender on the enemies' use of "a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which is incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives." The emperor was not only a political leader in Japan; he was also revered as a near-god, and many Japanese did not fully accept the news of defeat until they heard him speak those unthinkable words.
As sadness and shame engulfed Japan, joy spread around the Western world. In the United States, news of Hirohito's announcement reached airwaves on August 14 (due to the time difference), and that day was declared Victory in Japan--or V-J--Day. That afternoon, President Harry S. Truman addressed a crowd that had gathered outside the White House, saying "This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor. This is the day when Fascism finally dies, as we always knew it would." That day, photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped one of the most famous photos ever published, a shot of a sailor in full uniform kissing a nurse in the middle of New York City's Times Square. The photo, published by Life magazine, became a symbol of the general atmosphere of jubilation in the United States following the end of World War II.