The mayors of Honolulu and Nagoaka, Japan—two cities linked by World War II—joined hundreds of people last night to mark the 70th anniversary of the conflict's end by watching a spectacular 20-minute fireworks show. Part of Pearl Harbor, which is still an active naval base, opened to the public yesterday for a display of Nagaoka's fireworks. The pyrotechnics watched by the crowd, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, and Nagoaka Mayor Tamio Mori honored the war's victims and celebrated 70 years of peace and friendship. The event came the day after the mayors and city council members from Honolulu and Nagaoka joined the commander of the US Pacific Fleet in laying wreaths at Pearl Harbor.
Nagaoka is the hometown of the late Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor that launched the US into the war in 1941. US planes bombed the city during the last weeks of the war, killing nearly 2,000 people. Today, it is one of Honolulu's sister cities and is famous for fireworks. The war ended when Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, which was still Aug. 14 in Hawaii and other parts of the US. The Dec. 7, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor killed about 2,400 sailors, Marines, and soldiers on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Around the world, there were 15 million battle deaths and 45 million civilian deaths from the war, according to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. (Read more World War II stories.)