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60th Anniversary Of VE Day

This month [May] marks the sixtieth anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of the Second World War in Europe. On his recent visit to Europe, President George W. Bush said, "The evil that seized power in Germany brought war to all of Europe, and waged war against morality itself":

“Brave men and women of many countries faced that evil, and fought through dark and desperate years for their families and their homelands. In the end, a dictator who worshiped power was confined to four walls of a bunker, and the fall of his squalid tyranny is a day to remember and to celebrate.... The Nazi terror is remembered today in places like Auschwitz, Dachau, Rumbula Forest, where we still hear the cries of the innocent, and pledge to God and history: never again. The alliance that won the war is remembered today in carefully tended cemeteries in Normandy, Margraten, St. Petersburg, and other places across Europe, where we recall brief lives of great honor, and we offer this pledge: we will always be grateful."

Private Robert Lee Rutledge of the U.S. army was one of those who fought in the Second World War. Weeks before he died in battle, he wrote a letter to his five-year-old daughter. "You're too young to understand it now," he wrote, "but you will later. It's all for your benefit. You came into a free world, and I want you to finish in one." Sixty years after the end of the Second World War in Europe, President Bush said that "sovereignty and majority rule are only the beginnings of freedom":

"The promise of democracy is fulfilled by minority rights, and equal justice under the rule of law, and an inclusive society in which every person belongs. A country that divides into factions and dwells on old grievances cannot move forward, and risks sliding back into tyranny. A country that unites all its people behind common ideals will multiply in strength and confidence."

President Bush pointed out that a democratic movement is now unfolding in the broader Middle East. Americans and Europeans continue to work together, in an effort to help bring freedom to Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and across the Middle East. "Freedom is a permanent hope of mankind," said President Bush, "and when that hope is made real for all people, it will be because of the sacrifices of a new generation of men and women as selfless and dedicated to liberty” as those who sacrificed in the Second World War.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.