What is Victory Day and why is Rhode Island the only state that observes it?

·3 min read

Rhode Island beaches could be more crowded than usual Monday, thanks to millions of brave Americans who fought in World War II.

On Monday, Aug. 8, the Ocean State observes Victory Day, which marks the end of World War II with the surrender of Japan on Aug. 14, 1945.

When is Victory Day?

Recognized in Rhode Island since 1948, Victory Day is among the 11 state holidays listed on the Rhode Island secretary of state's website. It's celebrated on the second Monday of August.

Why are some people critical of Victory Day?

Rhode Island is the only state that observes Victory Day, and it's come under some criticism in recent years. Critics have said it singles out the Japanese people and also celebrates the use of atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which led to Japan's surrender. Supporters note that the United States went to war with Japan only after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and many Rhode Islanders fought and died in the war.

More: R.I. still divided on Victory Day holiday

V-J Day is celebrated on Aug. 14, 1945, at Exchange Place in Providence.
V-J Day is celebrated on Aug. 14, 1945, at Exchange Place in Providence.

Are any ceremonies planned?

The Pawtucket Veterans Council and the City of Pawtucket will hold a ceremony at 11 a.m. in honor of Victory Day. It will be at the Pawtucket Veterans Memorial at 175 Roosevelt Ave., at the corner of Exchange Street.

At 3 p.m. Monday, the Italian American War Veterans of the United States, Inc., and the War Tribute Car Cruise committee are hosting a free dinner for local World War II veterans and their guest at Perella's Ristorante, 311 Metacom Ave. in Warren.

"Honoring and paying tribute to the greatest generation on this day is a no brainer," John Cianci, department commander for the Italian American War Veterans, said in announcing the dinner. "Kudos to the State of Rhode Island for being only state to still have a holiday for Victory Day."

The youngest veteran in attendance will be 98 years old, Louie Dolce, Cianci said.

The group is also delivering meals to World War II veterans at the Rhode Island Veterans Home and families joining them.

What's open, closed on Victory Day?

Most state, city and town offices will be closed Monday. State courts in Rhode Island are closed.

Services like trash collection will be postponed. For example, Providence city offices are closed, and trash scheduled for pickup Monday will be collected Tuesday.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority will operate a holiday schedule. 

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In most cases, federal offices will stay open. The U.S. Postal Service will deliver the mail and post offices will be open, but U.S. District Court in Providence will be closed.

Are banks open?

Some banks will be closed, while others will be open. For example, Santander Bank will stay open, but all BankRI offices and Harbor One Bank branches in Rhode Island will be closed.

Retail stores will be open.

jperry@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7614

On Twitter: @jgregoryperry

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This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Why Rhode Island celebrates Victory Day, plus what's open or closed