Today is a very important day and I hope that it gets recognized this year with everything else that is going on. Today marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, Victory Europe when Germany surrounded in 1945 bringing to an end the ground war of WWII. WWII wasn’t officially over until Japan surrendered in August of 1945 but for many a large part of the destruction was over. Many brave soldiers lost their lives in this bloody conflict and many more civilians lost their lives needlessly.
Five years ago, a massive tribute was held over the national mall when 52 WWII planes flew over the State Capitol in honor of this tremendous day. Over seven hundred veterans and thirty thousand people showed up to view this once in a lifetime event.
When you’re a photographer you get to be a part of many great moments that most people don’t even know about. I’ve been fortunate in my young career as a photographer to have been a part of some of these moments. Of all the ones I have been a part of, none have been more impactful on me then this one. Seeing a B-29 fly is pretty amazing in todays world but seeing one fly over the National Mall is epic.
I don’t know how many years I have been writing a blog post for this day, which probably means I’ve written it a few times. I know that each year it gets harder to write about the same anniversary because the facts haven’t changed. The same events have occurred, the same people made those events occur and for me personally is the obligation to tell that story. The real difference each year is the number of people who were there to tell us what happened gets fewer and fewer. That is the natural way of life and it is why we honor days like today. Today is May 8th and is the 74th anniversary of VE Day, Victory Europe. This is the day when Germany surrendered during WWII. Some people may not know this and that’s why I write this post.
I also write this post for these guys. These vets who were there to do those things that need remembering and who every year disappear on us. Veterans like Jerry Yellin, Edward Saylor, Dick Cole, and David Thatcher. I know I’m forgetting others but I said these names because I’ve been able to meet these folks and hear their stories. It’s sad to think that they’re all gone.
As a photographer, our job is always to document the world around us. We all see things in a different light but no matter how we look at things, we are all still recording a chunk of time. That’s how we pass on our stories and memories to others by sharing those photos. Today we are able to honor these fine folks and say thanks for what they did in part because their world was documented at the time. Stop today and say thanks, life would be very different without people like this and without the service they provided all those years ago.
Today is a day to honor the many sacrifices that were made many years ago. Seventy Two years ago, May 8th 1945 was declared VE Day, Victory Europe. The end of WWII in Europe had begun with the German surrender and while the war continued on in the Pacific and peace was not entirely secured yet in Europe, the end was in sight. Today is an important day to remember that hard fought victory.
WWII changed the lives for everyone. It was the second time in the same century that the world was engaged in conflict and sadly it was not the last time that nations were fighting each other. Kids and adults had to fight to secure peace. It was not an easy victory, it took time and many lives. As we go through these uncertain times now, let us not forget the past and most certainly not repeat it.
Two years ago, I had the privilege to document the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, in which 52 aircraft flew over the nation’s capitol in honor of the 70th anniversary of VE Day. Over 800 veterans and 30,000 people were in attendance at the national mall. The Texas Flying Legends Museum brought eight aircraft in support of the flyover. This is what it was like for them.
On this day seventy years ago, the end of the bloodiest war in human history ended in Europe. The official military surrender of Germany happened on May 7th in Reims France and May 8th in Berlin, Germany. Around the world people were celebrating in the streets and newspaper from allied countries were posting headlines of the war ending. The day became known as VE Day or Victory in Europe Day.
Click Here to Get to the Arsenal of Democracy Webpage
This year marks the 70th Anniversary of VE Day and to honor this momentous day the Commemorative Air Force as well as other groups like the Texas Flying Legends Museum, Fagen Fighters and others have sponsored a flyover over the National Mall and WWII memorial. Fifteen different formations will take place show casing dozens of aircraft all honoring the brave men that made this day possible. Today we give thanks to those men.