Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada Julie Payette’s Video Message to Mark the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands and Victory in Europe Day
May 7, 2020
It had lasted for 5 long years of rationing and misery, but in the spring of 1945, following the advances of the Allies, everyone was finally seeing the end of the Second World War. The news of the German surrender spread on the 8th of May 1945, and everywhere, people took to the streets in an outpouring of emotion to celebrate the victory. The war was not completely over in Asia, but the Nazi threat was no more.
It was the deadliest war in history. More than 70 million dead, civilian and military. Six million Jews and other scorned people paid with their dignity and their lives for the evil purpose of a racist regime. Deported, they perished in terrible suffering. We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust, the ravages of hatred.
More than one million Canadians served in the wartime Forces and played a vital role in the Battle of the Atlantic, and in the Normandy and Italian campaigns. They fought against some of the best German troops on the Dutch and Belgian fronts, and they earned the respect of all in the air war over Germany. Canadian fighters left a legacy of great pride embodied in unforgettable names like: Dieppe, the Scheldt, Ortona, Juno Beach. Canadians helped secure the Allied victory at great sacrifice. More than 43,000 of our brave soldiers, sailors and aviators never made it back home.
Seventy-five years later, we remember them, but we also remember the many legacies of the war, including an unprecedented reconstruction plan that created bonds that still influence our lives today. In the aftermath of peace, several international organizations were established. Thousands of survivors of this seemingly endless war found refuge in Canada. They brought their cultures to flourish in our great country, helping forge the Canadian identity.
The magnitude and costs of the war made us realize that the prosperity of some is not possible without the prosperity of all. This should encourage us to work together, to collaborate as one, in times of peace, and in times of crisis, as we do now during this pandemic.
In this month of May 2020, let us celebrate freedom and remain strong in the face of adversity.