Saturday, May 08, 2010

V-E Day 65th Anniversary: They Were Heroes Then

On this day 65 years ago the courage, sacrifice and heroism of our fathers and grandfathers ended World War II in Europe. Germany agreed to unconditional surrender at Rheims. V-E Day brought celebration and happiness.

But the war in the Pacific was still raging, and families in the U.S. knew that this did not mean sons and husbands would be coming home to safety. The United States turned to planning the invasion of Japan requiring redeployment of 15 divisions from Europe to the Pacific theater. The US was looking at an estimated loss of up to a million Americans (and millions of Japanese).

Today is a day to be grateful to the men and women who served in World War II, risked their lives and won the victory--first in Africa and Europe and then in the Pacific.

It's also a day to remember and honor the sacrifices made on the home front through round the clock work shifts in war industries, foregoing civilian goods and services due to rationing or lack of production (e.g., bed sheets and cars were not for sale), or having your life turned upside down by seeing those you loved go off to war and receiving devastating telegrams that some of them would never come back.

They were heroes then.