The coronavirus pandemic has upended plans in Paris, London, Moscow, and New York to celebrate Victory in Europe Day on Friday, but the Pentagon and U.S. European Command headquarters in Germany will go virtual to highlight the 75th anniversary.
Gen. Tod Wolters, European Command chief and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, will participate in a virtual wreath laying in Belgium, Stars and Stripes reported.
"On this milestone anniversary of V-E Day, we remember all who resisted behind enemy lines, those who tirelessly worked on farms and in factories to supply and equip the war effort, who fought on land, sea, and in the air," Wolters said in a statement, Stars and Stripes reported.
"We also reflect on the horrors of World War II, the Holocaust, the tremendous destruction, the millions of lives lost which are all solemn reminders of the importance of preserving peace."
According to EUCOM historian William Butler, the legacy of the WWII campaigns was also proof nations can join together in war or crisis.
"That alliance, that coalition of nations working together towards defeating the enemy so to speak, should be key for us," he told Stars and Stripes. "We've had this enduring partnership in Europe. We've had NATO and other connections . . . that have lasted and served us well."
He told the news outlet lessons also can be drawn from V-E day during the COVID-19 crisis, drawing inspiration inspiration from the resiliency of the "Greatest Generation."
"They knew what it was like to see normal life disrupted in a pretty significant way . . . we haven't experienced that as a country as a whole in quite a while," he said.
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