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On Veterans Day, 8 unforgettable photos of Americans returning from war

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There’s pride, joy, and relief in their faces.

New Yorkers hang out their windows on Sept. 10, 1919, to watch a victory parade down Fifth Avenue after the end of World War I. (National World War I Museum and Memorial)
New Yorkers hang out their windows on Sept. 10, 1919, to watch a victory parade down Fifth Avenue after the end of World War I. (National World War I Museum and Memorial)


In 1962, an aging Gen. Douglas MacArthur delivered a final speech to the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was nearing the end of his of life, and he knew it.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,” he said, “for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

For Veterans Day, here are some historical photos of Americans who served celebrating the end of war and coming home.

A World War I victory parade in Elgin, Ill. Members of the Army Nurse Corps, foreground, and the American Red Cross, background, wave to the crowds. (National World War I Museum and Memorial)
A World War I victory parade in Elgin, Ill. Members of the Army Nurse Corps, foreground, and the American Red Cross, background, wave to the crowds. (National World War I Museum and Memorial)


Alta May Andrews, who served in the Army Nurse Corps in France during World War I, is on the far right in the above photo. Her collection of more than 400 photos from her service are at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo.

These men were some of the first to be sent home from World War II after Germany's surrender. On May 25, 1945, they boarded this train to Le Havre, France, where they would sail back to the United States. The men wrote their cities and states of origin on the train. (Library of Congress)
These men were some of the first to be sent home from World War II after Germany’s surrender. On May 25, 1945, they boarded this train to Le Havre, France, where they would sail back to the United States. The men wrote their cities and states of origin on the train. (Library of Congress)


African American women in the Army's 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion march in a victory parade on May 27, 1945, in Rouen, France, after Germany's surrender. They were the only African American women allowed to serve overseas during World War II. (National Archives)
African American women in the Army’s 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion march in a victory parade on May 27, 1945, in Rouen, France, after Germany’s surrender. They were the only African American women allowed to serve overseas during World War II. (National Archives)


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Enlisted men aboard the USS Ticonderoga celebrate after learning of Japan's surrender on Aug. 14, 1945. (National Archives and Records Administration)
Enlisted men aboard the USS Ticonderoga celebrate after learning of Japan’s surrender on Aug. 14, 1945. (National Archives and Records Administration)


[At Korean summit in DMZ, ‘deranged’ ax murders still cast a shadow]

Master Sgt. Harry Lister is greeted by his wife and son after returning home from the Korean War on May 5, 1951. (Harry S. Truman Presidential Library)
Master Sgt. Harry Lister is greeted by his wife and son after returning home from the Korean War on May 5, 1951. (Harry S. Truman Presidential Library)


Prisoners of war cheer as their aircraft leaves Hanoi to return them home to the United States on Feb. 12, 1973. (U.S. Air Force)
Prisoners of war cheer as their aircraft leaves Hanoi to return them home to the United States on Feb. 12, 1973. (U.S. Air Force)


Lorrie Stirm, 15, runs to embrace her father, Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm, at Travis Air Force Base in California on March 17, 1973. He spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Behind them, left to right, are Bo Stirm, Cindy Stirm, Loretta Stirm and Roger Stirm. (Slava "Sal" Veder/AP)
Lorrie Stirm, 15, runs to embrace her father, Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm, at Travis Air Force Base in California on March 17, 1973. He spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Behind them, left to right, are Bo Stirm, Cindy Stirm, Loretta Stirm, and Roger Stirm. (Slava “Sal” Veder/AP)


Though the above photo, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974, has been named “Burst of Joy,” the Air Force pilot’s return was anything but. Soon after his release from a North Vietnamese prison camp — days before this photo was taken — Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm received a letter from his wife telling him she wanted a divorce.

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Headshot of Gillian Brockell

Gillian Brockell is a staff writer for The Washington Post’s history blog, Retropolis. She has been at The Post since 2013 and previously worked as a video editor.


Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/11/11/veterans-day-unforgettable-photos-americans-returning-war/

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