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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May, 2005, 20:19 GMT 21:19 UK
What does VE Day mean to you?
Russian soldiers march on the Red Square in Moscow

The 60th anniversary of VE Day - the end of World War II in Europe - has been commemorated at a series of events.

More than 50 world leaders, including US President George W Bush, gathered in Moscow's Red Square on Monday to pay tribute to the Soviet people's sacrifice in World War II.

Some celebrations have been overshadowed by disagreements over the legacy of the war and the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states prompted Estonia and Lithuania to boycott Moscow's commemorations.

What are your memories of VE Day? What has been learned from the sacrifices made 60 years ago? How did the war shape today's Europe? What do you think about the disagreements over the legacy of the war?

We commemorated VE Day in our global phone-in programme, Talking Point, on Sunday 8 May. We were joined by the war historian Sir Martin Gilbert and Major General Patrick Cordingley who commanded the Desert Rats during the first Gulf war. The video and audio version are available above.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The small thanks I can offer seem to pale to what each and every one of them deserve
Benjamin Jakes, Minnesota, USA
When I think of the war, I think of my grandfathers who both volunteered to fight as soon as they could. One went on to be a code breaker in the Pacific. The other was still training for the Navy when the war ended. Since I can remember, at our town's Fourth of July celebration, I have watched as my grandpa and dozens of others stand for the armed forces hymns. Whenever those familiar opening bars of Anchors Away begin, I look back and think of the sacrifice my grandpa made, and how it was just one of the millions of sacrifices made by so many young men around the world. The small thanks I can offer seem to pale to what each and every one of them deserve.
Benjamin Jakes, Minnesota, USA

Without VE day, I guess I would have spent my time as a German "frontier farmer" near the Ural, raising genetically checked children and employing working slaves. This notion makes current life - despite all daily troubles - very pleasant. From my point of view: thanks to all allied soldiers for also saving my life.
Peter Schmitz, Berlin, Germany

A message to all vets who may read this and all the people at home and abroad who suffered in order that I and all of us could have the life we have today, I offer (through my tears of gratitude) my sincere thanks.
Amanda, Wales

It meant a lot to my grandfather, who is now about 80, and fought in WWII. It was the day that Europe could breathe a sigh of relief, before it held its breathe for the Iron Curtain. To The greatest generation, American, British, Russian, French, German (some did resist Hitler) and others, my generation says thank you.
Nick Walters, Houston, TX, USA

60 years since over 40 millions lives have been lost. Every one of us should think just for a minute about the absurdness that the war can cause. My grandfather went to fight at the age of 16 for five long years and thanks god he survived, but so many didn't. These people all around the world were fighting for the loved ones, for the friends and families, for their homes and not for political ideologies, not for the propaganda slogans of whatever nature. These people were fighting for our survival, for the humanity left in us. And that's the lesson we have to keep in mind: we cannot just forget about something that should never be again repeated.
Nadia Kozyreva, Russia

The communist barter type economy kept a whole myriad of different East European States and cultures in work
Alan, Warsaw, Poland
I remember the street party and bonfire that celebrated the end of the war. Having been 'bombed out' twice, in London's East End and in Bedford of all places. Sleeping with my mum and baby sister in a Bedford cinema, and a church with nothing but the clothes we stood in and no where to go. The Russians lost tens of millions in the war and afterwards in the Stalin purges. Not one single bomb fell on the USA mainland, so they're hardly qualified to comment on the Russian aftermath aspect. These were hard times as Europe was rebuilt again largely with money from the USA, but I don't believe they (USA) lost by this. See the bases that stay in Germany, UK, etc to this very day. Long after they were needed and probably they will stay for generations to come. The communist barter type economy kept a whole myriad of different East European States and cultures in work. There are many in Eastern Europe who look back on those 'hard times' with affection when compared to the avaricious dog eat dog capitalistic mentality of today.
Alan, Warsaw, Poland

My grandfather and three of my uncles left their life for the future generations. For each and every one of us. And we must always be grateful to them, admiring the feat they accomplished. Congratulations to all of Russia's and the allies' "veterans". Thank you for the peace and bright sky you gave us 60 years ago!
Evgeniya, Tomsk, Russia

Ugandans, like all east Africans, participated in WWII in different theatres (Africa, Middle East, Asia) on behalf of the British Empire. My grandmother tells me that Hitler was a household name during the war and that, the news of his defeat filtered in a few days later but that the colonial officers and school children gathered for the ceremony, that the King (of England) had saved us from new slavery. Children were given gifts and the soldiers started coming back to the villages. Many are still alive and celebrate Remembrance Day on Kampala's WW memorial square. The British Ambassador always attends to shake hands with the veterans, with their medals on the old uniforms. Their war songs are still very popular in Uganda. Their memories of VE Day will never leave them.
Abel Nkunzi, Kampala, Uganda

I think this day is both - painful and worth celebrating. My grandfather's brothers were separated by the Red Army and the Nazis. They had to fight the war against each other, and so did many more brothers. No matter which side took them first, they were guilty of killing somebody else's brother. It still makes me angry. My family was torn apart; and though I was born much later, I could still see the pain of the past on the faces of the ones still alive. When the war was over some brothers found their way back to each other, but some never had the chance because of the following Soviet occupation.

So, yes, celebrate the end of terrible atrocities, but don't tell me to celebrate the day when along with many others my country "willingly signed" the agreement to joint the Soviet Union. And don't tell me about the poor Russians or other Slavic minorities being discriminated. Just come to Latvia or any other Baltic State and see for yourself how we bent in front of the ones who don't even consider it necessary to learn a language over a number of decades to pay the smallest respect to the country they live in. Name me one person who has ever asked them to give up their identity, culture, or language and to assimilate. We have a saying that if there would be nine Latvians and one Russian in a room, everybody would automatically start speaking Russian. Does that say something about our situation with the minorities?
Laura, Latvia

My father, who is 83 now, fought along the British in the Burma campaign. These young soldiers from the coastal Andhra, namely Tanuku and surrounding villages were handicapped by the non-issue of automatic rifles. For the fear of a mutiny by the Indian soldiers, the British officers issued them a 303 rifle and were thrust in the forefront, thereby accounting for the increased number of causalities compared to the British. Very few people know that more Indian soldiers died fighting as a part of the British Indian Army than the British themselves. At least a sincere token of gratitude is due to those brave men and many more from the Empire!
Dr Chandra Sekhar, London, UK

I was so full of anger about our enemies I was at a navy training ship at fourteen
James Taylor, Frankston Australia
The end came too early for me as a fourteen year old. I was so full of anger about our enemies I was at a navy training ship at fourteen, waiting for my chance to have a go. All the young people I knew were of the same mind. I had lost family to both the Germans and the Japanese. Wars end promised a lot, but it didn't, our hard times and rationing went on years after Europe's ended. We Britons suffered the defeat.
James Taylor, Frankston Australia (ex Blackpool)

It means the end of one war and the beginning of another: the cold war.
Alain Hernu, Andresy, France

Congratulations to all the veterans on the VE day! It seems that half of the contributors are unaware that USSR does no longer exist. Why blame Russia for all the terrible sins of the communism? Communism is class ideology without national boundaries. As well as Russians, one can blame Georgians (who Stalin was), Latvians (whose red guards were instrumental in keeping Lenin in power in 1917), etc. The list will never end.
Dmitriy, Oxford, England

Victory certainly has a hollow ring to it when you consider that after the war the US basically left Poland, in particular, in the cold as unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the arbitrary line after the German's defeat setting us up for nearly half a century of further occupation. There was no victory - simply swapping one oppressive regime for another.
Edward Krzywdzinski, Australia

I will never forget the sacrifice made by many people
John Collier, Collingham, West Yorkshire
My 84 year old father is returning from a trip to Sulmona in Italy. He has been showing my daughter who is teaching in Italy the place he was a POW. When Italy surrendered many ordinary Italians helped escaping English POWs and many lost their lives as a result. Many ordinary people in all countries were the victims of the political aspirations of a few fanatics. We don't seem to learn the lessons of history. I will never forget the sacrifice made by many people so my generation and my children's generation could have freedom.
John Collier, Collingham, West Yorkshire

All that courage, sacrifice and devotion and we still have not learned that war and ravage does not pay. People are still fighting for the wrong reasons and world peace is still a dream.
Sundaram, India

The debt of gratitude will never be able to be repaid just by having anniversary celebrations. The men who lost their lives certainly need more recognition than this.
Firdaus, Singapore

A reminder of the enormous debt we all owe these people for our existence and the embarrassment that we should all feel for not taking that hard fought legacy and making a better job of today's society.
John, Ruscombe, UK

We should be remembering each and every one
Afaq Sher, Toronto, Canada
As we are celebrating 60 year of victory through one united effort to overcome one of the darkest time, we should be remembering each and every one who fought for it to give us our liberty. Whenever I see documentaries on the history of WWII and any ceremony taking place it fails to signify the contribution and sacrifices made by the army of colonial British India and from other parts of the colonised world. Thanks at last BBC for putting up the article reported by Mark Tully.
Afaq Sher, Toronto, Canada

If Russia, as the successor to the USSR, has any apologies to make, then it is to Poland. Apologies for the seizure of Polish territory and for the executed officers. Overall Russia has nothing to lose with regard to Poland, and such an apology would be beneficial for Russia itself. There won't be any bad repercussions, that's for sure. Poland doesn't have former SS men on the march, nor open anti-Russian discrimination - unlike Latvia.
Andrei, Moscow

Stalin and Hitler - eternal brothers! Quite a few fascists were trained in the 1930s at the Kazan tank academy. In 1939-1941 fascist submarine crews rested in Murmansk between attacks on the British. There is no doubt that the USSR helped Hitler most of all. Simply two bastards - Hitler and Stalin - agreed to divide up the world, they started World War II together, and while doing so each calculated that he would betray the other at the right time and grab everything.
Vlad, Russia

When the war ended millions of people from the USSR ended up in Europe and were forcibly transferred by the Allies to Stalin's camps and shot. Glory to all those who fought against Stalin and were betrayed by Europe!
Nikolai, Russia

I think it's time for [German Chancellor Gerhard] Schroeder to stop these public apologies. I don't see that modern Germans have any GUILT. But the reasons for Hitler's rise to power through democratic elections really haven't been reported. So much is written about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Stalin's "occupations," the failure to help the Warsaw uprising. For balance it would be good to publish as many articles about who financed the Nazis and why, why Germans elected a marginal politician, why the Allies abandoned Poland in 1939, Czechoslovakia in 1938, Austria in 1936. And perhaps after Versailles the Germans had reason to dislike their European neighbours?
Brat2, Russia

Endless thanks to all Allied forces for their toil, sacrifice and bravery
Scott, Bracknell, Berks
I always remember the story of my Granddad being arrested in Piccadilly in the early hours after VE day drunk and dancing with a cardboard cut-out of Fred Astaire. Endless thanks to all Allied forces for their toil, sacrifice and bravery - God Bless.
Scott, Bracknell, Berks

I appreciate all this looking back not forward from time to time, but I do get confused with how many 'war days' we seem to celebrate. Why not have one day a year to remember wars of the past and position it as a day to look forward to peace in the future.. much more sensible
Timothy, London

I was only two months old when the war ended, but my mother has spoken of how I was born with the sound of the doodlebugs overhead, making their last raids on London. My mother was still at school when war broke out but by the end of the war she was married and had me. What must it have been like when she left school working in an ammunitions factory, only dating men in uniform, making a wedding dress and a cake with rationing? I have been lucky that I haven't made sacrifices like my parents did. I hope my children and grandchild have listened to the stories told by their grandparents.
Margaret, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

To any Vets reading this, a tearful thank you
Lisa Horgan, Crowthorne, Berks/US Ex-pat
My parents missed serving during wartime by a couple of years. They were inspired by our troops to enlist anyway and that is where they met. I was raised with a profound sense of gratitude for all the servicemen and women that served to keep us free. I am humbled each time I see a Vet or watch a documentary on WW2. I have a young son, 15 months, and I will do my best to help him understand the importance of what we were given by these heroic men and women. To any Vets reading this, a tearful thank you!
Lisa Horgan, Crowthorne, Berks/US Ex-pat

I was working on VE day at Rainham, Essex telephone exchange. The board was a mass of lights, subscribers calling their loved ones laughing, crying relieved that the war in Europe was over. The atmosphere was fantastic. At night bonfires were lit and people shone torches. Light was returned. The next day I went to Trafalgar Square people singing dancing, the atmosphere was euphoric. We sang When the Lights go On Again; We'll meet Again, Knees Up Mother Brown Roll Out the Barrel and many others. I was nineteen. My brother would be home at last.
Vera Knighton, Romford, England

It is a great holiday for all humanity, and an opportunity to remember why we are proud to be free. Unfortunately certain political forces have chosen this day as an opportunity to extract political gains or settle old scores, while it properly belongs to the war's veterans, of whom there are ever fewer. Sure, the Soviet totalitarianism was bad, but to compare it with Nazism or fascism is a right-wing exaggeration whose implicit goal is to rehabilitate fascism, indicted by history. My big regret is that Baltic presidents are boycotting the Moscow celebration, and that Bush is using this historic day to lecture about 'long vigils of suffering' when he would best just go and participate in official celebrations.
B Tereshchenko, USA (orig, Kiev, Ukraine)

The Russians are not commemorating a victory by the Soviet Union, but the defeat of the Nazis. Just because one's identity has changed with time doesn't mean one has lost the right to show respect for the millions who died protecting their country. It isn't fair to make 'ideological' capital, by undermining the significance of the event, by western cynicism. A life lost, is a life lost, no matter how you interpret it.
William Cass, Vejle, Denmark

My grandfather fought in WWII against the Russians for Finland. He never spoke me about those events. So horrifying as those events were I still believe that Europe and the rest of the world is better place today. I salute all the men and woman who sacrificed their lives in that madness
Jani, Helsinki, Finland

I guess it's the last occasion to celebrate the major VE anniversary with many veterans still around. It's a pity that it is strongly overshadowed by the ghosts of the past and the new conflicts. Rewriting of history and resurgence of the Nazis in Baltic states will only lead to new wars. But for this one day, we might forget about these, and just celebrate. My nation has paid the ultimate cost for victory, and jackals dogging us from behind should not spoil the day for us.
Ilia, St Petersburg, Russia

VE Day meant freedom and going home for my Dad.
Jan, Toronto, Canada
My father turned 85 in January. He was in the Eighth Army, British Tank Corps. He was rescued off the beaches at Dunkirk. After a short leave, he was sent to Africa. He was taken prisoner there and was missing, presumed dead for a year. He was a prisoner of war for three years. VE Day meant freedom and going home for my Dad. I am writing this email today because of VE day. I salute all Servicemen for what they have done and do for us, so that we can enjoy our freedom.
Jan, Toronto, Canada

VE day is as important today as ever. It reminds us of a time when much of the free world came together under a common banner of liberation. A time when few could argue with the need for war because the circumstances were so grim. And it was victory in Europe more than anything that shaped modern International Relations.
Chris, Brisbane, Australia

My grandpa didn't fight for Stalin or for communism, he fought for his Motherland and Freedom. It's as simple as that. Let's not forget about those who started this war and let's never forget those who were fighting for their Motherland. The USSR lost 27 million people in defeating Germany. Just try to imagine this number. God bless all the veterans.
Dmitry, Moscow, Russia

VE Day is one of the most important days in the history of the world. It is a sad fact that so many people do not know that, and do not even know what was at stake during the WWII. I can only hope that the majority of inhabitants of this planet are aware of the significance of this date.
Edvin Agacevic, Zagreb, Croatia

While I am not downplaying the significance of the VE Day anniversary and celebrations I am getting heartily sick of commentators on all channels, including the BBC, referring to it as the end of the war. VE Day marks only the end of the war in Europe and I think it is an insult to the memory of all those who were still fighting and dying in Asia that the media in general seems to have forgotten this fact. I feel that because of this attitude and because of popular fascination with Hitler that many young people may be unaware of the horrors and sacrifices of the war in the Far East.
Kathryn, Luton, Beds

As a young boy of 5 living in England, I remember the celebration in the street as we marked the end of the war and the terrible bombings from the German forces. To me it was the beginning of a new time when we didn't have to be scared of invasion and occupation by a Nazi crazy man.
Richard Weeks, Kokomo, Indiana U.S.A.

May 8th was my mother's birthday. What a wonderful present VE Day was. But she awaited the best present of all, the return of her young husband to her arms. He returned and they lived a long and happy life together. Many thousands, nay millions, did not have that chance. Today I'm thinking of those young men and women who did what they felt was right despite their fear and their suffering and gave their lives that we be free, and of those they left behind who could not share the deserved joy of VE Day. God bless them all.
John Murphy, Lauris, France

While Western Europe is commemorating VE Day Poland is certainly not. Needless to say, that the victory over Nazi Germany was the greatest event of 20th century but everybody should also remember what followed. For Poles it was the beginning of the second nightmare-the era of Stalinism and then communism.
Anon, Poland

WWII is central to my identity. It is a reminder to me that countless relatives were murdered in Babiy Yar, Kiev, and killed in the war, fighting the Nazis. The VE Day should not be forgotten by the future generations as it is the day when humanity overcame the ultimate evil.
Alex, New York, USA

VE Day should mean remembering not the 'big picture' of the politics and nations but the individual contributions
Andrew Carter, Southampton

Michael Ryan says in comments highlighted above that "Without a doubt, the Soviet Union bore the brunt of World War II". Fine. But he should not forget that it is also without a doubt that Latvia Lithuania and Estonia suffered the consequences of the evils of the Soviet Union in the 40 years which followed. VE Day is also a day of shame, for it marks the insidious cynicism of Churchill and Roosevelt, which permitted the millions of dead and displaced persons which was to mark the so-called and spurious post-War peace of Europe which VE Day is supposed to celebrate. As the son of a Latvian exile, I am deeply bitter of those who claim the war was won by those who supported freedom. In reality, everyone lost.
Dr Peter Kalve, Moulton, Northamptonshire, UK

VE Day should mean remembering not the 'big picture' of the politics and nations but the individual contributions of everyone concerned. Every mother, father, brother, sister, friend, lover, husband or wife who lost a loved one. Every man woman or child tested by the fear of imminent death from gunfire or bomb. Every person haunted by the sights they saw or the deeds they did. Those who did not take part in this awful period of our history can only wonder how they would have coped and can only thank and admire those that did.
Andrew Carter, Southampton

"They gave their tomorrows for our todays". We can never hope to repay them; the least we can offer is our recognition, thanks and gratitude--Qualities that I personally believe are lacking in today's society.
Blair Graham, Ipswich

The USSR shares with Italy the inglorious distinction of having fought the Second World War on both sides. Nobody now wants to remember that they, too, invaded Poland in September 1939 and partitioned her with their Nazi allies.
Andrew, London

Whilst the UK is celebrating the 60th anniversary of VE day, it is worth remembering that for the Eastern European allies celebrations are somewhat muted. All that victory in Europe achieved for Poland was to replace the cruel and bestial Nazi tyranny with domination and exploitation by Soviet communism for nearly another 50 years.
John Blizzad, Krakow, Poland

I was well aware of the war, the conflict, its conclusion, and the promise that this was the end of all such conflicts. I was naive to believe this to be the case
Mike Feasey, San Clemente, USA
Born in 1936 and hearing bombs dropping around the house were we lived in London, I was well aware of the war, the conflict, its conclusion, and the promise that this was the end of all such conflicts. I was naive to believe this to be the case. I felt great anger towards the Germans who had tried to kill me with bombs and rockets. It was while visiting Cologne Cathedral in Germany I was approach by a German who apologised for World War II and all they did over a pint of beer. I just wish the talk and the beer could have taken place before the craziness started. Who knows, with the common people meeting, war could become obsolete.
Mike Feasey, San Clemente, USA

VE Day means a lot to me. I have a deceased grandfather who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and served in the US Army during World War II. It gives me great pride to know that he was a war hero who fought for not only his country, but also to end the world of fascism and tyranny. I can look at his Purple Heart medal that he was rewarded for his services overseas and I can know that the world is now a better place because of all Allied soldiers fought to keep us free.
Nathan, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

VE Day reminds me, that small countries should not wait help from others. When Soviet Union tried to conquer Finland in 1939, many countries condemned it, but no one gave us any real help.
Pete, Helsinki, Finland

Conflicts have consequences for both individuals and nations. The growth of Australia and other nations of the New World is due to the thousands of immigrants who left war devastated Europe in the years after VE Day. Phoenix like, out of the ruin and despair of Europe, new lives and communities have grown up and prospered. The circumstances of their beginnings should not be forgotten.
Marja Berclouw, Melbourne, Australia

My father, wearing striped concentration camp clothes, was liberated by General Patton's troops on 5 May. He shouted "victory is ours." An old man at his side said, "No young man, freedom is ours." The tens of millions who suffered and died taught us one lesson above all, their love of freedom must remain our passion and must be passed on.
Dorde Cedic, Sedona, USA

My Grandfather fought in WWII; he was in the Red Army which defeated the Nazis. He told me of all the fears and horrors of war. I am Jewish, I remember what he said and will never forget it. He lost 19 family members who were killed by Nazis. It should never happen again, such horrors are indescribable. We must remember, or we will perish. Our children must know and memory is what VE day must always be.
Simon F, Riga, Latvia

To those that say move on I say this, until we learn the lessons from history we will continue to ignore the countless thousands who are dying today in futile wars across our peaceful Earth
John Nelhams, London, UK

I lost two relatives in the war, they paid the ultimate price for keeping us free today, free to choose where and how we live, free to choose our leaders, the freedom to vote
Terry, USA
Born and raised in Brighton England, I was just six-years-old when the war finished, Yes as a boy even I was shot at by enemy aircraft, I remember we had a party in the street where all of the people enjoyed the day. I lost two relatives in the war, they paid the ultimate price for keeping us free today, free to choose where and how we live, free to choose our leaders, the freedom to vote. I only wish that the leaders to day do not give that right to Brussels, for if we sacrifice our sovereignty for economic gains, then we deserve to loose both, and will. I will pay my respects to all veterans the world over. Thanks, and may God bless you all.
Terry, USA (ex Brit)

My father joined the RAF at the end of the war and never saw action, but thanks to the scholarship he received for his service, he was the first member of his family to go to university. While there, he met my mother, who was about to become an SRN. On the negative side, the bombing my mother experienced as a child marked her for life, and she was never able to hear the noon siren in the NY bedroom suburb where we lived over 30 years later without having flashbacks about air raids.
Sabrina, Salvador, Brazil

Without a doubt, the Soviet Union bore the brunt of World War II, wearing down Germany's war machine in a savage war of attrition. There can, however, be no talk of a "decisive" contribution. Why argue whether D-Day was more important than Stalingrad? Every nation, every man and every woman played their part, and great events were often decided by the heroism and sacrifice just a few men.
Michael Ryan, Berlin, Germany

VE Day evokes the memory of a 1993 visit to abandoned Commonwealth Air Training Scheme airfield at Fort McLeod, Alberta. Hangers still standing, officers mess surviving but windows and doors broken in, tarmac with grass growing through the cracks, aircraft tie-downs still visible, and a vast silence under the western Canadian sky. To me the real scene spoke volumes of the terrible events which linked this place to far off Europe.
Patrick Folkes, Tobermory, Canada

The victory was of one enormous evil over another. The Soviets occupied most of Europe after the war with the aid and complicity of the Anglo-Saxon powers. This is indeed a celebration not just of a victory over an enormous evil, but of the victory of another enormous evil.
Andrzej Kazimierczuk, Cincinnati, USA

The defeat of the Nazis was a great achievement worthy of remembrance. But at the same time, all western nations must acknowledge their failure to bring freedom to the hundred million people of Eastern Europe. The end of the war brought peace and prosperity to Western Europe, but to the east it brought only the peace of death. Celebrate the victory over the evil of National Socialism, but let us all repent that it took us 50 more years to defeat the evil of Soviet Socialism.
Mark P Nelson, Tallinn, Estonia

I am 15 and no-one has ever told me or any of my four younger siblings what happened on VE Day. I think that it should be explained to us.
Hattie, UK

I will never forget seeing the Queen Mother walking down the Mall towards me
Gareth Jones, Manchester
I remember VE day like it was yesterday. I was in London and I will never forget seeing the Queen Mother walking down the Mall towards me, cheering, and getting lost in the crowd of celebrating free people. I am old now but those thoughts keep me going.
Gareth Jones, Manchester

Are people ever going to get over their obsession with WW2? The war ended sixty years ago. Of course we shouldn't forget history and its lessons but I think it's time to move on.
Jonny Mayle, Cranleigh, Surrey,

For me VE day is a time to recognise the unpayable debt we will always owe to the generations who sacrificed all for our current freedoms. Without them we would simply not exist.
Paul, Den Haag, The Netherlands

My father flew in RAF bomber aircrew from the beginning of the war to the end. His bravery astonishes me. My only memory of VE day (I was 4) was having a bonfire in the street made from prunings of the trees that lined the road. They were all green wood and would not burn properly. A neighbour poured on a jar of paraffin and the resulting flare-up stuck in my mind.
Bruce Parkin, Pentre Halkyn UK

Canada has done an abysmal job of honouring the past
Don Davis, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
My father served as a signalman in the Eighth Army and I lived through the bombing of London. My sons understand a little but to my grandchildren that past almost doesn't exist. Canada, politically and educationally, has done an abysmal job of honouring the past.
Don Davis, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Every year people gather to celebrate a victory in WW2. Even Germany was invited to the last celebration, yet nobody recognise the efforts of Africans who went to fight in a war that had nothing to do with them. No African government has ever been invited nor any mention made of the contributions of young African soldiers.
Francis Kizito, Pennsylvania, USA

I think of those who refuse to vote on May 5th. My father risked his life for their freedom as a naval commando in North Africa and during D-day at Pegasus Bridge. They are throwing away the fruits of his efforts.
Vince, Coventry

I feel a swell of pride in my chest and a lump in my throat. It gives me hope to know what others have sacrificed. Let's not hijack this for comment on Iraq in a negative way. Lets celebrate and remember.
Dan, Harrogate

Battles were fought by normal men, who did outstanding things
DW, Chicago, USA
VE day should be remembered for what it was, a combined effort by a group of nations to rid the World of Fascism. Battles were fought by normal men, who did outstanding things. We all owe the fallen, and the surviving servicemen, an everlasting debt of gratitude.
DW, Chicago, USA (Brit ex-pat)

It means I owe my granddad more recognition than I have previously given him. It means that I am able to live free because people like him were willing to put his life on the line for a cause they believed strongly in. It means I am better person for taking the time to reflect on the above, and realize how lucky I am to have a granddad like mine.
Paul Girling, Toronto, Canada

We should turn to those who served and those who died with gratitude and pride. We have the chance to see our children growing up. We have the chance to grow old. We have the gift of peace. We learn about the war from history books. May it remain there forever.
Paul, Romania

I think it's a terrible thing that some say that they're embarrassed by VE Day as it seems that we're rubbing the German's noses in it. It's sad that some think it is an opportunity to do just that. I think it should be a celebration, not of a defeat of Germany, but of a defeat against Nazism.
Steve, England

My feelings range from admiration to disgust
Mike, London
My feelings when studying the world wars range from admiration to the selflessness of many of the fighters to disgust and despair that such a thing could happen. Then I read the news and see it continue today, only we're the aggressors. What a waste.
Mike, London

I am thankful. I am 38, my generation has never seen war. My children have been studying WWII over the last year, mostly via documentaries using film taken at the time. It is plain that much is owed by many to a few.
Henri, UK

When I first started work I found my boss served in the army during WW2. He never celebrated VE day, as on that day in 1945 he was still fighting and continued to do so for three months. I hope this year as much is made of VJ day as VE day as so many men like Ted continued to fight and die in Burma in what is considered the forgotten theatre of WW2.
Ian, England

While VE Day was being celebrated, let's not forget the other soldiers who were still fighting in India and Japan - "The Forgotten Armies". My dad was in India and he didn't come home until December. To all the men and women who fought in the war I salute you.
Yvonne Harrison, Liverpool

Thank you, to all the men and women who fought to bring freedom to us
John F Stonehewer, Canada
Thank you, to all the men and women who fought to bring freedom to us. I was eleven on VE Day, and can remember the celebrations.
John F Stonehewer, Canada

In a single word, gratitude. My father served in the army. My mother worked in naval stores. If the Nazis had won, one or both would have been killed in all probability.
David, London

My father, who died a few years ago, was in the navy and served on the Hood shortly before its demise. I am proud of him and all those fought to give us what we had today. Last year, I visited Oradour sur Glaine in France, a village that was destroyed during the war. It has been kept as a reminder of the evils of war and the horror of what it can bring. VE day gives us all a chance to be thankful for what we have, and proud of those who got it for us.
Sue, New Eltham, London

I worked in a veteran's hospital for a year, and all the stories I heard and the vets I got to know made me realize what a sacrifice they made and how lucky we are that they did. I feel honoured to have known and cared for some of those brave vets.
Donna Kirkbride, Canada

We must celebrate it forever, because we must never forget the heroes
Bernadette, Petersham, MA
We must celebrate it forever, because we must never forget the heroes. We must always remember that every person in our world deserves the luxury of freedom. It is a hard thing to gain, when people are deprived of it. So, yes, we must celebrate VE Day forever, always being grateful to those who gave so much for all of us.
Bernadette, Petersham, MA

My father was able to come home after marching though Paris with the 28th Infantry Division and surviving the Hurtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge but the war was not over. America was still involved in the Pacific in places like the Philippines, Iwo Jima and ultimately Okinawa with hundreds of suicide planes attacking the American fleet, and 30 ships were yet to be lost to those planes. A happy day in Europe, I am sure, but Europe was not the world then or now.
Garland Byron, Lafayette, USA

Winston Churchill summed it up when he said "In all our long history we have never seen a greater day than this."
Rob Smith, Grimsby, Canada

A celebration of the day when a war was fought for freedom, and not for financial or political gain.
Ibrahim, UK

What more can you say, it's been said already "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
Maaz, London, UK

I lost three uncles in World War II, one at Calais, one at Arnhem, and one shot down over England. I know the effect that this has had on my aunties, one was married for only two weeks, so I hope that such a tragedy will not happen again.
George Pierce, Dan Khun Thot, Thailand

Today I remember and give thanks to the members of my family who fought and died for freedom from tyranny
Andy D, Oxford, UK
Today I remember and give thanks to the members of my family who fought and died for freedom from tyranny and to preserve our way of life. I also remember the sense of betrayal that those who survived have felt in their later years as their sacrifices pass into memory and the freedoms they valued so highly are gradually eroded by insincere and self-serving politicians.
Andy D, Oxford, UK

My grandfather had just become a bomber crew instructor after completing his quota of raids as a gunner/wireless operator and decided to accompany his first bunch of trainees on their first mission in 1942. He didn't have to go and they were shot down over the Belgian/Dutch border and I think only the pilot survived. He probably thought they would have a better chance of getting back with him on board, but I still find myself torn between wanting to castigate him for being so stupid and praising him for being so brave in supporting a bunch of lads who were probably about the same age as my eldest son is now.
Steve, Bristol, UK

I would like to thank those who fought to keep us free from tyranny. My father was a WWII veteran and, as a result, his health suffered greatly. He also lost an older brother in 1942. I am now a Royal Navy wife myself and have seen my husband go to war twice since I've known him. Maybe the war was not quite on the scale of WWII but I have some idea of what it was like to say goodbye and not know when you'll see them again. Once again, thank you, for giving us our freedom. There are some of us who appreciate it.
Sarah Johnson, Portsmouth UK

I am consumed with respect for all who served as Allies in the WWII. I was born in January 1945 and I as I grew up I knew many veterans in the USA. I saw how they came home to be workers and parents and builders of our society. I honour them on VE Day. As I honour the veterans of England and Europe. These veterans had a tremendous task in front of them, they rebuilt their countries and their economies. I thank them all. They really are The Greatest Generation". They were our parents.
Susan, Gilbert, Arizona USA

Let us never, never forget all the brave men and women that fought and died in this conflict
John, Paris, France
I was born in 1975, a full thirty years after the end of the War. Now sixty years on I still feel that the memory of what happened is just as strong as ever before. Let us never, never forget all the brave men and women that fought and died in this conflict, which for better or worse has shaped the world we live in today.
John, Paris, France

VE Day should be commemorated forever. Thank you to all those who gave their lives for us to live the lives we live today. For they were and will forever be the greatest heroes to me.
Michael Gerrard, Geneva, Switzerland

I've bought poppies for years, to support those who fought and their families. But I won't be buying the new union flag emblems - for me it's a major mistake to bring nationalism into it. We weren't the only nation who helped win the war, and winning it brought the world together. I'm against nationalism, which divides the world, but I'm all for celebrating the work of the people who did so well to stop the danger to the world.
Jonathan, Guildford, UK

People who think it's cool not to be bothered going out to vote should be forced to study the history of the WWII to find out what their grandparents gave up to allow them the choice!
Ellie, Edinburgh, UK

I agree so much with Piotr and Wojciech. VE Day - glory and hope for many and another disappointment and a tragic moment in a history of the Eastern Europe. My grandparents told me a lot about those first days of 'freedom' in Poland, it was a start of another occupation, without rules and principles which lasted for 50 years.
Monika, UK/Poland

I think it's a time to remember the heroism of the brave men and women - whatever their nationality - who fought for their countries. Bravery was not only restricted to the victors.
Jack, UK

This is the last chance we have got to thank the generation that fought the war and gave their lives for this country
Niki, Kent, England
I think that this is the last chance we have got to thank the generation that fought the war and gave their lives for this country. My granddad fought for this country and my two boys aged five and eight can't believe that their great granddad was in a tank. We should never forget that their generation gave their lives and freedom for this country. We should say a massive thank you to them while they are still here to hear it.
Niki, Kent, England

I have always been proud that my birthday is also on VE Day. It is a welcome reminder to me that the sacrifices which so many made give me the freedoms I enjoy today.
David Makinson, Bolton, Lancashire

This is one of the most important days in the world history. We remember and honour all, who defeated fascism.
Nino, Tbilisi, Georgia

My father-in-law came ashore at Normandy on 6 June 1944 and fought through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the Battle of the Bulge. It in many ways made him the man he is today. My mother-in-law lived in the Netherlands during the war and reflects on it and we as children have been privileged to get a viewpoint of the oppressed and of the liberator.
Lloyd Cook, Holland, MI USA

My father was in that war. What it means to me is best described in this quote by a London man named John Stuart Mill. "War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
Alex, USA

I lived in Dagenham, Essex, through out the war years. I remember the Battle of Britain days, the nights of air raids, living a lot of the time in an Anderson shelter, my mum holding me tight during raids. And when the news came that the war was over my mum cried. All the people in the street were cheering and cuddling one another. Now, at 70-years-old myself it must have been a great sense of relief to them all.
Donald Knight, Norwich

Thank you for our freedom
Will, London, UK
All I can say is thank you to the men and women of all nations who gave so much. Thank you for our freedom. Thank you for a better world.
Will, London, UK

I think it meant that like many people I could cast a vote this morning!
Rex Lester, Chessington, UK

I would like to thank the Allies for their contribution to helping us defeat the Nazi army. Much appreciated.
IF, Russia, Moscow

We must not forget that VE day was not the end of the war for the Australians, Britons, Canadians and New Zealand forces. Most of us were transferred for another year or two active service in the Far East tackling the Japanese problem. I, personally, lost six years of my youth in all.
Basil Jackson, Waterloo, Belgium

I was only six when war ended but I remember my father giving me a banana, my first, and I did not like it
Noel Meredith, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales

I'm very lucky to have my grandfather's stories to supplement what they taught us all in school
Jade Nesvold, Edmonton, Canada
I'm only 22; therefore I'm very lucky to have my grandfather's stories to supplement what they taught us all in school. What really sticks with me aren't the stories of action and heroism, it's a description of the bombings my grandpa gave me once. He was in the Air Force and was telling me that he remembers, contrary to what movies show us, how terribly quiet missions were - no one would make a sound while they were in the air, often no one would talk for 12 hours or more. He says, only half-jokingly, that his crew's real motivation was the giant bacon and egg breakfast they served you after the tough missions, because you never got to eat like that. Every time I visit him now, he makes his world-famous breakfast for me and it tastes better than anything else ever could.
Jade Nesvold, Edmonton, Canada

The end of a totally unnecessary war.
V I Fenton, UK

I have read a lot about the valour of the British and the Russians and the Americans in WWII, all well-deserved. I would like some international news organisation to recognise and write about the hundreds of thousands of Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British. Their sacrifice was equally brave and praise-worthy considering they weren't even fighting for their own country but only for their colonial rulers.
Shilpi, Shrewsbury, USA

As someone who was two years old at the time, I can only thank the men and women of the day, including my father in the army and mother in the land army for their efforts because without them I doubt if I would be alive today. I am extremely proud of all these people who gave their all in these dark times.
Michael McIver, Hastings

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