Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip marked the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Japan during World War II on Saturday, leading tributes to those who fought during the six-year-long engagement.
In a message on what is known as "Victory over Japan Day" or "V-J Day," Philip and the Queen extended their "grateful thanks" to those involved in the campaign that has been widely overlooked in the following decades.
“Those of us who remember the conclusion of the Far East campaign, whether on active service overseas, or waiting for news at home, will never forget the jubilant scenes and overwhelming sense of relief," the 94-year-old queen said, speaking from Windsor Castle.
“Amongst the joy at the end of the conflict, we also remembered, as we do today, the terrible devastation that it brought, and the cost borne by so many," she stated.
FILE – In this B/W file photo dated May 9, 1945, while American cities were going wild on an unconfirmed report of Germany’s unconditional surrender, American soldiers and marines are checking the identification of their dead on May 9, 1945, on Okinawa, Japan. Resistance continues to be savage on this island in Japan’s front yard. Following the defeat of the Nazis on May 8, 1945, Allied troops carried on fighting until Japan’s surrender, but many of them felt their efforts had not been fully recognized and dubbed themselves the “forgotten army.”(AP Photo/Sam Goldstein, FILE)
At an annual ceremony held in Tokyo, Japan's Emperor Naruhito said that he felt “deep remorse” over his country’s wartime actions and pledged to reflect on the past.
“Reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated,” he said.
Notably, there was no word of apology from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who gave thanks for the sacrifices of the Japanese war dead but had no words for others who had suffered.
On Saturday afternoon, President Trump tweeted a short video, acknowledging the day and the end of the war.
Although Nazi Germany had surrendered on May 8, 1945 — now known as "Victory in Europe Day" — allied forces continued to fight the Japanese until a cease-fire was ordered on Aug. 15 in the wake of the U.S.-led atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Then-President Harry S. Truman broke the news of Japan’s surrender in a news conference from the White House.
“This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor. This is the day when Fascism finally dies, as we always knew it would," he said.
That said, Japan did not formally surrender until Sept. 2, 1945, which is also known as V-J Day.
More than 30 million soldiers and civilians were killed in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during the course of the war.
In the United States, many V-J Day celebrations have fallen out of favor over the years since the war ended due to concerns about offending the Japanese — now one of America's closest allies — and Japanese Americans.
In 1995, former president Bill Clinton ignited controversy when he referred to V-J Day as the "End of the Pacific War" in remembrance ceremonies dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Rhode Island is the only state in the nation that still observes "Victory Day."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.