A Symphony Heard Around the World

Remembering September 2, 1945

The deck of a ship
became a platform for peace
as an instrument of surrender was signed.
In Tokyo Bay, that longed for day,
a General was quite specific.
There was no wasting time.
His mission was clear.
He knew the score.

Having orchestrated every minute detail in advance,
he conducted a symphony at sea.
His baton was a Parker fountain pen.
And the joyful melody MacArthur coaxed
from those seated beneath his gaze
could be heard around the world.

I have it on good authority
that the piece played that day
was much shorter than the peace that followed.
You see, a 19 year old Marine
(who would become my father seven years later)
was there.

My dad made mental notes
of this once-in-a-lifetime performance.
As an eyewitness to history,
he told me his story
time and again
until his time came.
And when at last it did
there was a surrender ceremony
of another kind.
And another symphony.
This one requiring but one instrument.
A solitary bugler playing “Taps.”

  • My dad (Edwin Asimakoupoulos) was one of fifty members of the Marine detachment on the USS Missouri in 1945. He saw action in the South Pacific (including Iwo Jima). He was an honor guard at the surrender cermonies aboard the Mighty Mo on September 2, 1945. As such he was assigned as an attache to the Russian General who signed the treaty on behalf of the Soviet Union. It was a red-letter day in his life. My dad died on November 4, 2008. That would prove to be a red-letter day for our nation. It was the day we elected the first black man to live in the White House. A Mariner bugler played Taps at his memorial service on November 10, 2008 (the 233rd anniversary of the establishment of the United States Marine Corps).