V-E Day 70 years later: Pounded on the anvil of history

By Beryl Wajsman on May 4, 2015

"The pounding those heroes took on the anvil of history produced the steel that is the stuff of legend. We have an obligation to honor that legend and live up to that legacy every day and in every way. There remain obstacles to storm today that will hold us loyal to that purpose. The beaches of injustice. The cliffs of oppression. The marshes of apathy. We must be standard bearers of compassion and conscience. That would be the living proof that the sacrifices of 70 years ago were not wasted."

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This week marks the 70th anniversary of VE Day. Victory in Europe that brought down the Nazi tyranny that had engulfed so much of the civilized world. A tyranny that had butchered so many millions.

This week we remember. We should remember every day. And every day act with the character and valor of those heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy and in under a year had liberated Europe.

We commemorate the unparalleled heroism of human beings facing inhuman elements and succeeding in destroying the most devastating evil in human history and the vanquishing of civilization’s most obscene enemy. But the remembrance must also be personal. 

We must remember the faces of that greatest of generations.  Faces smeared by mud and blood. Faces with deep, brooding eyes that witnessed such horrors from the landings on D-Day through the liberation of the death camps. Faces set with bold, grim resolve to finish the task. 

Despite all the sham and drudgery around us today, greatness can still can be witnessed now and then. And not just in the veterans. That greatness has lessons for us today.

What Tom Brokaw called "the greatest generation" taught us this: it can never be only about  rhetoric. It's not just about words. It's about action. What put the "great" into that generation was a connection to the struggles for redemptive change of all people, and the courage to serve and sacrifice to help realize that change. The pounding those heroes took on the anvil of history produced the steel that is the stuff of legend. We have an obligation to honor that legend and live up to that legacy every day and in every way.

There remain obstacles to storm today that will hold us loyal to that purpose. The beaches of injustice. The cliffs of oppression. The marshes of apathy. We must be standard bearers of compassion and conscience. That would be the living proof that the sacrifices of 70 years ago were not wasted. Everyday courage born of the belief that what is important in life is not what everybody can get for themselves, but what together we can do for the progress of mankind.

Too many of us pursue nothing more than inelegant self-absorption in our private lives and too many public officials play politics at the edges never daring to care. This week, let us resolve to change. Let us resolve to look at the pictures of the heroes  and let us absorb the spirit of that time and pledge to do better.

“Lest we forget” is not just a motto for remembrance. It is more than anything a daily call to the nobler angels of our nature to act. To act with the dignity, honour and selflessness inherent in the spirit of victory in everything we do. This is the most lasting and meaningful tribute we can bring to that greatest generation who gave us victory as a legacy for all eternity. This is the most essential duty we have. To turn that days' fleeting hours of hope into a permanent and constant reality.

Lest we forget, for all our todays, many gave their tomorrows.

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Editorial Staff

Beryl P. Wajsman

Redacteur en chef et Editeur

Alan Hustak

Senior Editor

Daniel Laprès

Redacteur-adjoint

Brigitte Garceau

Contributing Editor

Robert J. Galbraith

Photojournaliste

Roy Piberberg

Editorial Artwork

Mike Medeiros

Copy and Translation

Val Prudnikov

IT Director and Web Design

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