On Victory in Europe Day, France and the U.S. remember sacrifices made during WWII
May 8 marked the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day), commemorating the end of World War II in 1945. On this day, following the signing of acts of military surrender by German forces in Reims, France and in Berlin, millions of people around the world rejoiced for the conclusion of a long and horrific war. General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the French Resistance, addressed the French people with pride, saying, "Honor! Honor forever! To our armies and their leaders! Honor to our people, that hardships could not lesson, nor yield!" 70 years later, President Barack Obama saluted the United States’ allies, "in Europe and around the world," who worked to defend "the liberty and human rights of all people."
France and America share a special affinity on this day, because many soldiers from both countries fought side-by-side in key battles of World War II. On June 6, or D-Day, thousands of American soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy, France in a historic battle that eventually led to the liberation of Europe, an act for which France is forever grateful. U.S. and French forces continued to work together through the liberation of Paris in August 1944 and the official end of the war on May 8, 1945.
This year, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius hosted U.S. counterpart Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris to celebrate V-E Day. They visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where they laid wreaths in remembrance of all soldiers that lost their lives in battle. Minister Fabius thanked Secretary Kerry for his visit, a gesture symbolizing the strong and long-lasting friendship between France and the U.S., and the countries’ shared ideals of liberty.
Photos : MAE / F. de La Mure.