On June 6, 1944, on the beaches of Normandy, the tide turned on the Western Front in Europe. With the Soviet Red Army already pushing from the East following the Battle of Stalingrad, and Hitler’s Axis ally Mussolini fallen, Allied victory in World War II was in sight. Less than a year later, in May 1945, came V-E Day. And in September of that year, V-J Day ended the war.
Let’s remember the heavy price paid for these victories, which ultimately made not only the western Allies but the world more free. So many of us – Americans, Canadians, British citizens at home and across the Commonwealth, Soviet and French citizens, and many others – suffered and died, or served and survived, both in the theater of war and at home. Let’s remember also that thousands upon thousands of enemy soldiers suffered, as did their families. And the price paid by innocents was so staggering that I, today, still cannot fully imagine it.
The entire world, in fact, paid dearly for World War II. That having been said, I believe that we have made the world a place more receptive to democracy and individual freedom. A global peacekeeping organization, the United Nations, continues – often ploddingly and imperfectly – to do its work in the world.
We’re not there yet. But we move, slowly and with frustration sometimes, along the road.
Could this have happened without World War II? Perhaps, but history is what it is. We cannot really know.