On Friday, the world marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Called Victory in Europe Day (VE Day), events included a parade in the Netherlands dedicated to Canadian troops, a tribute to veterans by President Barack Obama, and a display of Russian military might in a parade of their latest cutting edge weapons.
In a celebration in the United States, President Barack Obama called for continued support between the United States and European nations on behalf of common values, according to Opposing Views.
“Seventy years ago tomorrow, the world celebrated a generation of young Americans who thundered across the a continent to liberate a people — young Americans who were willing to lay down their lives for people they’d never met and ideals that we can’t live without.”
Appledorn in the Netherlands coordinated a VE Day parade for Canadian soldiers to celebrate their liberation from the Germans. Canadian combat veterans in military vehicles greeted the crowd. Local school children presented the veterans with flowers as a show of gratitude.
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, who was born in and often visits Canada, attended the parade. She said she knew many of the veterans who attended, according to CBC News.
“It’s great to see them back again. So I hope that they really experienced once more how thankful we are. Freedom is something that you can’t take for granted. We know very well to whom we do owe our freedom and thank you Canada is on all of our lips.”
Of the many events taking place in Europe, Londoners attended a star-studded concert performed by Katherine Jenkins, Pixie Lott, Status Quo and couples from Strictly Come Dancing. They sang songs from the 1940s, and thousands of people attended, including a large host of World War II veterans. One thousand veterans also attended a thanksgiving service at Westminister Abbey. Members of the royal family, the armed forces and representative from allied nations also attended, according to Sky News.
Thank you so much for the unbelievable response to the VE Day concert. Never experienced anything like it. Everyone completely “got it”. Thx
— Chris Evans (@achrisevans) May 9, 2015
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin and 16,000 Russian troops participated in the largest VE day celebration in decades. Although Western countries boycotted the event, President Putin thanked the Americans, British and French for their participation as Russian allies.
Russia also previewed their latest cutting edge weapons during the VE Day celebrations and included the next generation Armata T-14 tank. Earlier this year, the Russians announced they would add five nuclear submarines to their fleet. Several hours after the parade, Putin attended a 250,000 strong march to Red Square to pay tribute to those who fought in the war, including his father.
[Photo Credit Holiday Images]