Today was meant to be a day of widespread celebration across the United States, the Commonwealth, and Europe. For today is the day, 75 years ago, that Allied powers secured final victory over Axis powers in World War II. In this difficult time, it is still appropriate to remember this momentous day in history.
Celebration were muted today. Crowds were not allowed. Ceremonies were brief. But across the Commonwealth, Europe, and North America many stopped to pay tribute to an astounding victory that changed the course of the world.
As we focus on our current battles, which also have a direct threat on our ability to survive and thrive, we should use this day to remember that humanity is capable of triumph. The great takeaway is that we can do it again.
As we find ourselves in another war against a different, invisible enemy, we must look beyond the loose parallels and see that a critical ingredient to successfully prevailing against any collective threat is solidarity. This solidarity is strained in an era of intense partisanship that, at least in the USA, has been unable to rise above petty politics. But the spirit of helping your neighbor and sacrifice is what propelled bravery in World War II and can do so again, in our time and in our circumstances.
Watch Winston Churchill’s VE speech:
Then watch King George VI’s speech:
Finally, watch Queen Elizabeth II’s speech from earlier today:
COVID-19 will not have victory day. 75 years from now there might not be a celebration recalling how humanity defeated this virus.
But as the German President expressed today, may we humble ourselves, repent of our transgressions against once another, and work toward a brighter future in which we find news ways to serve one another for the betterment of us all.
And to all who gave their lives for the cause of freedom in World War II, I am most deeply grateful.