AT 8.15 am on August 6, 1945, a US Air Force Bomber named Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later the Japanese industrial city of Nagasaki suffered the same fate.
The two bombs claimed a collective total of well over 200,000 lives both in their detonations and from the nuclear fallout that followed.
The intent of the bombings was to force Japan into surrender to Allied Forces and bring an end to the element of World War II being fought in the Pacific.
On August 15, 1945, the Allies' aim had been achieved as Japan surrendered although not formally until September 2, 1945.
The US was prepared to drop a third bomb and the bombing of Nagasaki had proved to the Japanese Government they were not bluffing.
While these bombings heralded a new level in man's capacity for destruction and the debate over the Allies use of them will continue forever, for Australia and her allies, the bombings expedited the end of a war that had raged across the planet for six years.
It meant the end of the aggressive expansionist policy of Japan, an end to the bloody battles being fought in the air, on land and sea, and the return of those troops who had survived some of the most brutal prisoner-of-war conditions in human history.
More than half a million Australian personnel served overseas during World War II and of them, nearly 40,000 Aussies were killed, with twice that number wounded.
The appalling battlefield conditions, particularly in the Pacific, resulted in countless combatants on both sides succumbing to disease and illness.
Our country actually came under direct attack for the first time in white history and there was real concern that we would be invaded by the advancing Japanese.
Across much of the country, including here on the Mid North Coast, there were plans developed, and in some cases enacted, to deprive the Japanese Army of resources, should they land here.
There was an evacuation road built to get Nambucca Valley and Coffs Coast cattle away from the invaders and up onto the Dorrigo Plateau.
Locals were convinced that Coffs Harbour was ripe for capture by the Japanese due to its' port facilities and air strip.
Blacking out homes in the evenings and digging trenches for shelter from potential bombings was common place.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific. Victory in the Pacific Day, known as VP Day, commemorates Japan's acceptance of the Allied demand for unconditional surrender.
It is little wonder the celebrations and collective jubilation of the Australian population on August 15, 1945, was at a pitch that had never been experienced before and is unlikely to be ever known again. The country was awash with spontaneous celebrations in most towns and cities.
Along with the loss of human life and suffering being over, the wartime privations that affected every single Australian were now behind them.
These days the commemoration of VP Day takes on a more sombre mood. It is now a time when we remember those who served during the war and particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
We also remember the suffering of over 22,000 Australians who became prisoners-of-war. Those prisoners-of-war who survived internment never fully recovered from the physical and mental trauma they were subjected to.
Just as the COVID-19 restrictions prevented public commemorations on ANZAC Day 2020, there can be no public gatherings on VP Day this year. That does not mean we do not pause to remember.
We owe it to those who trudged the Kokoda Track, flew Catalinas and Liberators, fought at sea, perished during the Death Marches and toiled on the home front to reflect on their sacrifice.
On VP Day this year, ensuring you observe COVID-19 Health Regulations, lay a flower or a wreath, raise a glass and perhaps say a prayer for those who did not come home, those who did, and those who had the agony of waiting at home. On VP Day 2020, Lest We Forget.