5 ways to mark the 75th anniversary of World War II’s end

From a Jewish resistance leader’s compass in Israel to a fortified island off France, artifacts and places recall a planet in conflict.

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The Collings Foundation restores and exhibits historic aircraft, such as Lockheed’s P-38 Lightning, used by the U.S. in aerial combat and reconnaissance missions during World War II.

A version of this story appears in the June 2020 issue of National Geographic magazine.

The planet’s deadliest conflict officially came to a close 75 years ago, on September 2, 1945, when Japan formally surrendered during a solemn ceremony in Tokyo Bay aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. Germany had signed an unconditional surrender document on May 7 of that year. Here are five ways to commemorate the end of World War II—while at home and on future travels.

Restored aircraft

The nonprofit Collings Foundation maintains a fleet of historic aircraft, such as the WWII-era Lockheed P-38 Lightning (shown above), that tours museums and air shows around the United States. For more than 30 years, its Wings of Freedom Tour has touched down at various airports to honor veterans and exhibit restored fliers. During these events, history buffs can even take the controls—along with an instructor—and soar into the skies aboard a P-51 Mustang fighter plane.

Island outpost

Hundreds of bunkers, tunnels, and other eerie remnants of Hitler’s defensive Atlantic Wall dot the Channel Islands, an archipelago in the English Channel off...

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