World War II ended 60 years ago when the
Allies celebrated victory in Europe followed by victory
in the Pacific. “Freedom prevailed when millions were
liberated from oppression and tyranny was replaced by democracy,”
President Bush notes in a May 3 proclamation.
The president proclaims 2005 as the National
Observance of the 60th Anniversary of the End of World War
Following is the proclamation:
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
May 3, 2005
NATIONAL OBSERVANCE OF THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE END OF WORLD WAR II, 2005
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Sixty years ago, the flags of freedom unfurled
across Europe and Asia as victorious American and Allied
troops brought World War II to an end. Freedom prevailed
when millions were liberated from oppression and tyranny
was replaced by democracy.
The years of World War II were a hard, heroic,
and gallant time in the life of our country. When it mattered
most, a generation of Americans showed the finest qualities
of our Nation and of humanity. More than 16 million Americans
served during World War II, putting on the uniform of the
Soldier, the Sailor, the Airman, the Marine, the Coast Guardsman,
or the Merchant Mariner. They were the sons and daughters
of a peaceful country, who gave the best years of their
lives to the greatest mission our country ever accepted.
They earned 464 Medals of Honor, and over 400,000 made the
ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Millions more supported
the war effort at home -- caring for the injured and working
in factories to provide supplies to those fighting in distant
places like Midway, Normandy, Iwo Jima, and Bastogne.
As the war drew to a close, Americans remained
united in support of the vital cause of restoring the liberty
of mankind. When the end of the war in Europe was announced
on May 8, 1945, hundreds of people rushed to the White House
to celebrate the triumph of freedom. President Harry Truman
addressed the American people from the White House and said,
"For this victory, we join in offering our thanks to
the Providence which has guided and sustained us through
the dark days of adversity." In the following months,
the war in the Pacific was won and a grateful Nation began
welcoming home liberty's heroes. Many who had left America's
farms and cities as young men and women returned as seasoned
veterans ready to finish their education, start families,
and assume leadership roles in their communities.
Today, as we wage the war on terror and
work to extend peace and freedom around the world, our service
men and women follow in the footsteps of our World War II
veterans by upholding the noble tradition of duty, honor,
and love of country. Like generations before them, America's
Armed Forces are among the world's greatest forces for good,
answering today's dangers and challenges with firm resolve.
Their vital mission will help secure our Nation in a new
century, and all Americans are grateful for their courage,
devotion to duty, and sacrifice.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President
of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority
vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United
States, do hereby proclaim 2005 as the National Observance
of the 60th Anniversary of the End of World War II. I urge
all Americans to mark this observance with appropriate programs,
ceremonies, and activities in honor of the Americans who
served in World War II and all those who supported and contributed
their efforts from the home front during this extraordinary
time in history.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set
my hand this third day of May, in the year of our Lord two
thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States
of America the two hundred and twenty-ninth.
GEORGE W. BUSH