Calling them celebrations of "a great
triumph of good over evil," President Bush previewed
in his radio address May 7 his participation in ceremonies
in the Netherlands and Russia marking the 60th anniversary
of the end of World War II in Europe.
World War II veterans salute an American flag
during a parade commemorating the 50th anniversary
of Victory in Europe Day, May 6, 1995, in Kansas
(Photo © AP/WWP)
Bush also spoke of the histories of two other countries
he is visiting during his four-day trip to Europe. He recalled
that Latvia was "taken captive by another totalitarian
empire" after the war's end. The president noted that
"the wave of democracy that swept Central and Eastern
Europe in 1989 has now swept to nations like Georgia,"
which he will also visit to "applaud the people there
for the Rose Revolution that advanced democracy in their
"All of us understand that the advance of freedom
is the concentrated work of generations," Bush said,
and he predicted that "by working together, we will
ensure that the promise of liberty and democracy won on
VE Day will one day reach every person and every nation
in the 21st century".
Following is the transcript of the president's radio address:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Saturday, May 7, 2005
RADIO ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT
TO THE NATION
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Sunday and Monday, I will
attend ceremonies in The Netherlands and Russia, to commemorate
the 60th anniversary of V-E Day.
These events will celebrate a great triumph of good over
evil. We will never forget the acts of courage that made
possible the liberation of a continent, or the heroes who
fought in the cause of freedom. And we honor the brave Americans
and allied troops who humbled tyrants, defended the innocent,
and liberated the oppressed. By their courage and sacrifice,
they showed the world that there is no power like the power
of freedom -- and no soldier as strong as a soldier who
fights for that freedom.
The defeat of Nazi Germany brought an end to the armed
conflict in Europe. Unfortunately, for millions of people
on that continent, tyranny remained -- in a different uniform.
In Latvia, where I'm also visiting on this trip, free people
were taken captive by another totalitarian empire. Germany
was split into free and un-free halves. And countries like
Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary were cut off from liberty
by an Iron Curtain. The people of these countries survived
the Cold War through great courage, and then they took history
into their own hands and reclaimed their freedom.
The result is the continent of Europe, wounded by decades
of conflict and oppression, is today whole, free and at
peace for the first time in its history. The wave of democracy
that swept Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 has now swept
to nations like Georgia and Ukraine. And the victory for
freedom represented by V-E Day has become a reality for
millions of people.
On my trip, I will visit Freedom Square in Tbilisi, Georgia,
to applaud the people there for the Rose Revolution that
advanced democracy in their land. Georgia has survived oppression,
fought for liberty and taken its place among free nations.
America is proud to call Georgia our partner in freedom,
and we will help the people of that country enhance prosperity,
improve security and spread liberty at home and abroad.
The new democracies of Europe still have much work to do.
Free elections are a significant achievement, yet they are
only part of a fully functioning democracy. Democratic governments
must be committed to providing full and equal rights for
minorities, resolving conflicts peacefully, encouraging
a vibrant political opposition, and ensuring the rule of
law. As the nations of Central and Eastern Europe work to
build up the institutions necessary for a free society,
America will stand by their side.
Today, these nations are standing with us as we defend
liberty abroad. Freedom has no better friends than those
with a fresh memory of tyranny. That is why countries like
Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Georgia have been partners
in our coalition in Iraq and Afghanistan. We're grateful
for their contributions, and especially for the example
they are setting for other aspiring democracies.
America and these new democracies are bound together by
history, by the universal rights we have defended together,
and by our deepest convictions. All of us understand that
the advance of freedom is the concentrated work of generations
-- from the brave Americans who fought against Nazi Germany
sixty years ago to those who struggle for liberty today.
And by working together, we will ensure that the promise
of liberty and democracy won on V-E Day will one day reach
every person and every nation in the 21st century.
Thank you for listening.