Ernest Tavlian

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Fresno Bee (California)
August 15, 2005, Monday FINAL EDITION


'Very strange'

On V-J Day, my father, Ernest Tavlian, was a prisoner of war on the island of Kyushu, almost equidistant between Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Moraga author Richard N. Demirjian recorded my father's memories in the anthology, "Triumph and Glory: Armenian World War II Heroes" (1996):

"On Aug. 14, we had gone into the forest on a detail. ... [A]s we're coming back ... the Japanese along the way were very friendly. They were coming out and handing us oranges. ... [T]his seemed very strange. We knew that something big had happened during that period of time, Aug. 6 through Aug. 9, but we didn't know what it was. ... In any case, we ... started up a gravel road that went up to our camp. We had no more started climbing up that hill when we had heard the screaming and yelling [that] the war was over. That's how we found out. ...

"Within a matter of days, B-29s were flying over. They would find an open park and would just deluge us with food, everything we needed. ... We would go and pick it up and then divide it up among everybody."

Philip Tavlian