Victory in Europe Day
Today marks the 72nd anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day). On May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. World War II in Europe, which had begun in 1939 with the Nazi-Soviet invasion and dismemberment of Poland, was ended. After more than five years of the most brutal war ever inflicted upon humanity, the guns of Europe fell silent on May 8.
We pause today to honour and remember the brave men and women who served Canada in this colossal struggle. More than 45,000 gave their lives and over 55,000 were wounded in the struggle to defeat tyranny. More than one million Canadians served in uniform during WWII – among them some 40,000 of Ukrainian origin.
At places such as Juno Beach, the Scheldt, Caen, Sicily, Ortona – and countless other fields of battle, Canadians fought with valour to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny. They earned with their courage and sacrifice the eternal gratitude of all free peoples.
“Today, we pay tribute to the soldiers who served Canada with such determination and courage,” stated Captain (Retd) Andre Sochaniwsky, CD, President of the Ukrainian War Veterans Association of Canada. “We shall remember forever their heroism and their service to our country and to the cause of liberty.”
While on the Western front, Canada and the Western allies liberated Europe from Nazi despotism, on the Eastern front Stalin’s Soviet Union brought more oppression, death and cruelty to the captive nations of eastern Europe.
Caught between the totalitarian and genocidal empires of Hitler and Stalin, Ukrainians fought with valour and bravery against both occupiers. Victory over Nazi Germany brought neither peace, freedom nor deliverance to Ukraine. The Ukrainian people were forced to struggle for more than four decades after the end of WWII for their liberation. We remember and honour their sacrifices and their bravery.
Today, the people of Ukraine are forced to fight in defence of that freedom. Putin’s Russia seeks once again to subjugate Ukraine to Moscow’s tyranny. Ukraine’s sons and daughters again bravely take up arms to defend their country. With God’s help, they will be victorious.
Lest We Forget. Вічная Пам’ять