Clinton Goes to Hawaii to Commemorate End of World War II
HONOLULU (AP) _ Marking a turning point in history, President Clinton is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II by urging Americans to face today’s problems with the same resolve that united the nation a half-century ago.
Ending a 17-day Wyoming vacation, the president was flying here today to lead three days of commemoration of V-J Day, Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies on Sept. 2, 1945 _ 44 months after the deadly attack on Pearl Harbor.
Up to 10,000 World War II veterans are expected to take part in the observances, which begin Friday. Dignitaries have been invited from 27 foreign nations, including Japan and China.
A parade of battleships will sail off Waikiki Beach Friday as formations of planes _ from World War II aircraft to B-1 bombers _ roar overhead. Clinton will review troops of the 25th Infantry Division at Wheeler Army Airfield, as well as play golf with five aging veterans.
Bob Hope, who entertained troops in both the Atlantic and Pacific, will host a program Friday evening honoring World War II veterans, volunteers and home front workers.
The president’s main address will be Saturday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. He’ll also participate in commemorative events that day at Pearl Harbor aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and at the USS Arizona Memorial.
``We’re not only celebrating the end of the war but a beginning of an era that brought progress and a real community spirit to our efforts,″ White House spokeswoman Ginny Terzano said.
She said Clinton would urge Americans to pull together as World War II soldiers did.
``With the challenges we now face, from a budget crisis to global problems and crime, we have to work in a real community effort,″ she said.
On Sunday, the president will take part in a final commemorative service, and then fly to California for Labor Day appearances. Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel from Hawaii that same day to China to speak at the United Nations-sponsored international women’s conference and pay a brief visit to Mongolia.
The celebrations mark the end of a long line of World War II observances. President Bush came to Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1991, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack that brought the United States into the war.
Clinton traveled to Normandy, France, last year to celebrate D-Day, the landing of Allied forces that led to the end of the war in Europe. And last May 9, Clinton went to Red Square in Moscow for a Victory Day tribute to the 27 million Soviets who died defeating Nazi Germany.
While Clinton’s appearances are billed as nonpartisan, he is expected to attack Republican efforts to cut veterans programs when he tapes his weekly radio address Friday. The White House has invited a group of veterans to be on hand for the radio address.