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Push to change R.I.'s Victory Day renewed amid racial reckoning

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Islanders are renewing the push to change the state's unique but controversial Victory Day holiday, which is being observed Monday.

The state is the only one in the nation that still observes the holiday, which commemorates Japan's surrender ending World War II in August 1945.

The nation surrendered after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands.

Over the years, there have been unsuccessful efforts by state leaders to discontinue or rename the holiday amid concerns that the day, which is sometimes referred to as “V-J Day” or “Victory Over Japan Day,” carries negative connotations, WPRI-TV reports.

But amid the national reckoning on racism, those calls have been renewed. An online petition launched last month suggests changing the name to something more inclusive such as “Celebrate Rhode Day.”

The Providence Journal reports that some downtown Providence shops are taking part in a campaign called #RenameVictoryDay and have signs in their windows suggesting the holiday be called “Mayor’s Bay Day,” “Lobster Roll Day,” or “Surf and Sand Day."

Rhode Island made Victory Day an official state holiday in 1948. It's now observed every second Monday in August.

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