Today, May 8, we celebrate VE Day, Victory in Europe, May 8, 1945—74 years ago. The interim Nazi government that had taken over when Hitler had committed suicide formally announced their surrender to the Allies May 8, and the Second World War ended in Europe. It did not end in the Pacific for three more months, until Japan surrendered after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were attacked with the world’s first nuclear weapons.
Celebration in Europe on May 8 was massive and jubilant. London and Paris and even Moscow were ecstatic. The long war against the desperate evil that was Nazism was over. While the war in the Pacific was savage and brutish, three-quarters of the more than 400,000 Americans that were killed in World War II perished in the European theater.
Fewer and fewer of that greatest generation who fought that war are with us. Every day more and more of them are dying. Express your gratitude to them and to their families for their enormous sacrifice. If ever there was a war that was just, it was the war against Nazism and Japanese Imperialism. Imagine the global nightmare for humanity if the Axis powers had won. I am thankful to God that He allowed the Allies to prevail in this desperate struggle with such monstrous evil.
I am grateful that my dad survived World War II, having earned 13 battle stars in the Pacific, from the first and second Battle of the Coral Sea to Midway to Guadalcanal, to the liberation of the Philippines, and right on through the surrender in Tokyo Bay. I know he was always very grateful when people told him how much they appreciated his service in the United States Navy. Tell a veteran, whatever the war, thank you for keeping us free.
Dr. Richard Land is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and serves on President Donald Trump’s faith advisory board.