York Town Square

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York, Pa., soldier about local V-J Day celebration: ‘I took all the Glory for the servicemen of York’

On the evening of Aug. 14, 1945, York County, Pa., residents joined a massive national V-J celebration, marking World War II’s end. The largest county assembly occurred in York’s Continental Square. York resident Al Heindel participated in the celebration as he passed through York after fighting in the European Theater and on his way to the Pacific. Here, holding a special V-J edition of York’s Gazette and Daily are, from left, L. Allen Wolfgang, Richard E. Wolfgang and Lloyd E. (Pud) Wolfgang. Paul S. Wolfgang is at far left. Also of interest: About York County in World War II: ‘We provided tanks, guns, refrigeration units and soldiers’ and York County USO sought to ease issues facing World War II boys coming home and York County sacrificed on home front and war front to aid Allies in World War II .

The 65th anniversary of many major World War II moments will be on the calendar this summer – and dare not be overlooked.
After the Soviets and their Allied partners quibbled over who would settle where in the surrendered Berlin, American, British, and French troops moved into that German city on July 1.
In the Pacific, the Enola Gay dropped the A-bomb on Aug. 6., and Nagasaki was bombed three days later.
York resident Al Heindel was on his way to the Pacific when he learned during a York stopover that Japan had unconditionally surrendered to the Allies on Aug. 14.
Here’s his e-mailed description of the resulting grand celebration in York’s Continental Square, which includes an interesting vantage point to see the city on that grand night:

I was in the European Theater until the war ended in Europe and received our order, Japan bound via the U.S.A. So we got a couple of weeks furlough, here at home in York, Pa. While I was here on furlough, the war ended in Japan. That night, (August 14th. 1945) there was a GREAT CELEBRATION here in downtown York. During war time, we had to be in uniform at all times. So Lamparter, had a dead animal business (they butchered the dead animals and made fertilizer, bonemeal, hides for leather and etc.) so they stacked bales of hay in tiers so we could sit on the bed of the truck and being a soldier, I had a ball on the back of the truck. I took all the Glory for the servicemen of York, riding all over the city because there weren’t many home at that time. In fact, I didn’t see any. This was a great night of celebrating.
When my furlough was over, I was sent to Lompoc, California, to meet my outfit (13th Armored Division) to wait for discharge. The 13th was devacuated and I was Transfered to the 20th Armored Division, (Chauffering a Colonel) until I got an emergency call for home that my Grandfather was gored by a big hog and infection killed him. I got an emergency furlough and came home for the burial . My personal equipment and orders were send to me here at home to report to Indiantown Gap for immediate discharge. Hurrah and I was a civilian again.

Al later became a leader in York’s German-American Society.
Also of interest:
All York Town Square World War II posts from the start.
20 questions and answers to prove your York County WWII smarts.