5-8-17 3:27 PM EST: "On this day in 1945, both Great Britain and the United States celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine.

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The eighth of May spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms: In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more; in Copenhagen and Oslo; at Karlshorst, near Berlin; in northern Latvia; on the Channel Island of Sark–the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany.

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The main concern of many German soldiers was to elude the grasp of Soviet forces, to keep from being taken prisoner. About 1 million Germans attempted a mass exodus to the West when the fighting in Czechoslovakia ended, but were stopped by the Russians and taken captive. The Russians took approximately 2 million prisoners in the period just before and after the German surrender.

Meanwhile, more than 13,000 British POWs were released and sent back to Great Britain.

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Pockets of German-Soviet confrontation would continue into the next day. On May 9, the Soviets would lose 600 more soldiers in Silesia before the Germans finally surrendered. Consequently, V-E Day was not celebrated until the ninth in Moscow, with a radio broadcast salute from Stalin himself: "The age-long struggle of the Slav nations…has ended in victory. Your courage has defeated the Nazis. The war is over." (quoted from History.com)

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It's been 72 years, and their living numbers rapidly dwindle, even as the respect from so many continues to grow. Some of our Moms, Dads, and Grandparents served in that war. Uncles, Aunts, Brothers and Sisters too. As many volunteered to serve the day after 9-11, many, many, volunteered the day after Pearl Harbor, and far too many said goodbye the final time to family and friends as they headed off to Europe to face down evil and stop it in it's tracks.

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They flew their colors and represented freedom, along with many other patriots from other Allied nations. They did what they had to do, and that "had to" was born and bred into them from very young ages. What they accomplished will never be forgotten, and hopefully, always honored and treasured. What more could they give?

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To all those who served in every conflict as well as every year of peace...SALUTE!

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V.P. Pence and the new VA Secretary had a thank you ceremony for Veterans at the White House today. Here is that.

 

 

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