Recognize Victory Europe Day
May 8, 2018
All Hands Message as sent
As you enjoy the morning sunshine in our beautiful host country of Italy, take a moment to consider the significance of the 8th May. Today marks 75 years since the Allies overcame the tyranny of Nazism, and became known as Victory in Europe Day.
With Berlin surrounded, and the war all but lost, Adolf Hitler committed suicide on the 30 Apr 1945. In the coming days, German delegations arrived at the Headquarters of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery at Lüneburg Heath, east of Hamburg, and then Reims, France, to meet with the Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower. Here they delivered the unconditional surrender of all German Forces, bringing to an end six years of violent and devastating conflict that had cost millions of lives. War in the Far East would rumble for months to come.
And so today is bittersweet. While we celebrate the defeat of an evil ideology and the freedom from tyranny which endures in Europe today, we continue to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice paid by countless Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. The terrible toll paid by innocent civilians of all nationalities is a tragedy which serves as a grim reminder of the imperative for all of us. As the founding Charter of the United Nations declared the same year, we work "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
We in the Alliance remain as stewards of the freedom that our forefathers paid so heavily to protect. Next year, we reach the 70th Anniversary of NATO...an organization which united former enemies and made conflict between them unthinkable. It is incumbent on us the draw deeply on this experience in the profound decisions we make as warfighters. The philosopher George Santayana reminded us that "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." Today offers us a powerful reminder of the responsibility we share together.