May 8th is an important historical milestone. The 8th of May, 1945 was VE Day, which stands for Victory in Europe. It marks the day of the formal acceptance by the Allies in World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces. Canada had been at war since 1939 and by the spring of 1945 had waged war against a relentless enemy at Hong Kong, the North Atlantic, at Dieppe, Normandy, in the air over Germany, and nearer the end, in the Netherlands and the Rhineland. More than a million Canadians had served in the armed forces, 42,000 had been killed, and tens of thousands more had been wounded or were waiting for liberation in concentration camps. Speaking of the Netherlands, I remember visiting when I was in my teens and was struck by how friendly and warm the Dutch people were toward us when they found out we were Canadian. The Dutch credit the Canadians more than any of the other Allies for the liberation of their country from the Germans. After May 8th, 1945, the war in the Pacific carried on until the Japanese surrender on VJ Day in mid-August. How fortunate we are to live in a land that has never felt the effects of a World War. If you’ve been to Europe and visited the battlefield memorials you know. If you haven’t gone but get the chance you should go and be reminded that our freedoms to make a fuss over things like bike lanes and backyard fire pits came at a price.
That’s Coffeetalk. I’m Vic Dubois.