Depending who you talk to Europe was saved from further destruction on this day in 1945 when the German High Command signed the unconditional surrender of all German forces, East and West, at Reims, in northwestern France. It was signed in Berlin the next day. That is the day the United States usually celebrates V E Day. Nevertheless, General Jodl hoped to limit the terms of German surrender but General Eisenhower demanded complete surrender of all German forces on this day. Fighting would still go on in the East for another day. But the war in the West was over.
What does this mean all these years later? It is hard to say as Russian forces mass along the Ukrainian border, ready to occupy an independent country and force a new tyranny on the people there. Or as Syrian refugees pour across the border in neighboring countries to escape the wholesale destruction of their nation. Budd, a friend of mine, was a POW during the Battle of the Bulge. He spent months after being captured eating beet soup after the sugar had been extracted. He endured the bitter weather and the barbed wire fencing and the fears of a desperate German army looking on them with hatred. Freedom still tastes sweet to Budd all these years after being released. These brave men won freedom for Europe but they, in every sense, won freedom for all of us.
Can we ever repay their bravery? I don’t think so. We can make this country a place for future generations. We can be a country that values freedom, hard work, faith, and civility. We can learn again that we are our brother and sisters keeper. We can work so that everyone has a fair shake and a chance to improve themselves. It still takes hard work and sacrifice. Nothing worth having is just handed to you unless it is the forgiveness God gives to live a truly free life. So let’s honor men like Budd who fought, bled, and often died to end the Brown Shirted bigotry and evil that marked that era of world history. Pause and give thanks today and tomorrow and vow to do everything in your power to not allow that mindset to rule again.
Think about the young girls kidnaped by Islamic terrorist thugs in Nigeria. Let the world cry out against such bigotry towards women as well as the senseless violence wherever it festers. We will not be free until all people are free. #bringbackourgirls.
“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” Isaiah 2:4
Vol 4 #40