CHARLESTON, WV —
75 years ago today, on May 8, 1945, the Allied Powers accepted Germany’s formal surrender, officially ending WWII in Europe.
While the Allies would continue to fight another three bloody months in the Pacific before “the war to end all wars” was fully concluded, May 8 marked a significant and important day in the history of freedom around the world, and solidified a historic victory over tyranny and evil aggression.
In helping to defeat the Axis Powers, the American Armed Forces and more than 218,000 West Virginians – the fifth highest percentage of service members during the war - played a critical role. These brave Americans brought to our allies the airborne, seaborne, and land-based resources and manpower needed to fight and overcome the Nazi and Fascist movements and restore sovereignty to the nations those regimes had swept over.
Today, in France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and the United Kingdom, cemeteries mark the hallowed grounds where more than 550,000 American Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines gave their last full measure of devotion, sacrificing their lives so that we may stand a free Nation. Nearly 6,000 West Virginia lives were lost during the second World War.
Each year we take time to commemorate and mark their sacrifices and the legacy they gave us. We honor their heroism and bravery, their tenacity and resolve, as it has helped to shape the foundation and growth of our National Guard force, specifically our West Virginia Air National Guard.
As each important milestone of history passes, we remember their gallantry that inspires us, and the foundations they laid to help us build the greatest and most professional military the world has ever seen.
On this 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to honor the service of those who have come before us, and to continue to emulate their dedication, passion, and love for our Nation and the ideal of freedom for all mankind that they so boldly defended.