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Opinion: Countries must partner to get through crisis

 

May 10, 2020



As President Harry Truman announced the Nazi surrender on May 8, 1945, he remained cautious.

The war was still going on with Japan. He said, “Our victory is only half over,” reminding Americans that many of their husbands, brothers, neighbors and friends were still in the thick of it, fighting against Japanese aggression in Asia and the Pacific.

But folks celebrated anyway.

New York featured one of the largest celebrations with huge crowds in Times Square. Thousands marched down Fifth Avenue, confetti raining down. Many Americans ignored the tenor of Truman and spontaneous celebrations erupted throughout the country.

But others looked upon this day in a more subdued and reflective way. Americans took to houses of worship for special services. The mood in some areas were somber. According to usembassy.gov, New Orleans “had no frenzied celebration,” and a similar calm prevailed in Dallas, Boston and Denver ... In Los Angeles the mayor proclaimed: “This is not a holiday.”

V-E Day, or Victory in Europe Day was first observed 75 years ago in Great Britain, Western Europe, the U.S. and Australia celebrating the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to the allied forces.

According to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Rick Atkinson, in an essay in the Wall Street Journal, “Our commemoration of V-E Day will also be tempered. Those who won the war and, for the moment, crushed fascism, are nearly all gone: Of the 16,112,2566 Americans in uniform during World War II, fewer than 400,000 remain alive. If, as a soldier in the 26th Infantry Division wrote, ‘no war is really over until the last veteran is dead,’ then World War II is almost really over, at last.”

Here in the U.S., V-E day is not a national holiday and doesn’t get the attention displayed in Europe, but we should, all of us, take the time to remember the sacrifices that were made of those who fought to preserve and protect a free world.

World leadership should make note of the past 75 years in terms of the friendship and progress our countries have shared. We have the United Nations and NATO, which have created bonds that have stood the test of time.

As we go through this extraordinary world crisis, one need only reflect on the anniversary of V-E Day to get a sense of how interlinked our countries remain, and how we must continue to partner, collaborate and progress while respecting our common history and commemorating our sacrifices.

— MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.

 
 

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