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Recognizing the 60th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E) Day During World War II

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Location: Washington, DC


RECOGNIZING THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF VICTORY IN EUROPE (V-E) DAY DURING WORLD WAR II -- (House of Representatives - May 03, 2005)

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 233) recognizing the 60th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E) Day During World War II, as amended.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

H. Res. 233, Madam Speaker, as the Clerk just pointed out, is a resolution that recognizes the 60th anniversary of victory in Europe during World War II.

This resolution, Madam Speaker, reiterates a simple but powerful message that our Nation honors and deeply appreciates the men and women who served in the European Theatre during World War II and that we especially remember and pay tribute to those Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Madam Speaker, 60 years ago, at General Eisenhower's headquarters in Reims, France, a representative of the German high command unconditionally surrendered all land, air, and sea forces to the allies ending the war in Europe.

General Eisenhower, in his order of the day to the troops on May 8, 1945, V-E Day, declared, and I quote him in part: "The crusade on which we embarked in early summer of 1944 has reached its glorious conclusion. It is my special privilege, in the name of all nations represented in this theatre of war, to commend each of you for the valiant performance of duty. Though these words are feeble," General Eisenhower went on to say, "they come from the bottom of a heart overflowing with pride in our loyal service and admiration for you as warriors. Your accomplishments at sea, in the air and on the ground, and in the field of supply, have astonished the world. Even before the final week of the conflict, you had put 5 million of the enemy permanently out of the war. You have taken in stride military tasks so difficult as to be classified by many doubters as impossible.

"You have confused and defeated and destroyed your savagely fighting foe. On the road to victory you have endured every discomfort and privation and have surmounted every obstacle, ingenuity and desperation could throw in your path. Full victory in Europe has been attained," he concluded.

President Truman in his radio address to the Nation that same day declared: "Much remains to be done. The victory won in the West must now be won in the East. The whole world must be cleansed of the evil from which half the world has been freed.

General Truman went on to say: "For the triumph of spirit and of arms, which we have won, and for the promise of the peoples everywhere to join us in the love of freedom, it is fitting that we as a Nation give thanks to Almighty God, who has strengthened us and given us the victory."

He then went on to say that May 13, 1945, would be a day of prayer. And he called upon the people of the United States, whatever their faith, to unite, offering joyful thanks to God for the victory that we have won and to pray, to quote him again: "That He will support us to the end of our present struggle and guide us into the way of peace."

How fitting, Madam Speaker, that we continue to commemorate a national day of prayer this Thursday, May 5, as we bring before God our thanks for the many blessings He has bestowed upon this great Nation and petition for help in the ongoing challenges we face.

H. Res. 233, Madam Speaker, recognizes the enormous sacrifice of the young men and women who fought in the European theatre. During World War II, more than 4 million members of the United States Armed Forces fought in Europe. This is the largest military force ever committed by the United States in any theatre of operation.

And almost 200,000 American troops were killed in the European theater. In addition, H. Res. 233 recognizes the sacrifice of the millions of members of the armed forces of allied nations in defeating Nazi Germany, liberating Europe, and putting to an end an unspeakable crime and crimes perpetrated by the Nazi regime.

H. Res. 233 was approved by the European Emerging Threats Subcommittee, and I hope that every Member of the House will support its passage this afternoon.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, before yielding back, I just want to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) again for his eloquent statement. He truly, he and his wife, Annette, are the personification of liberation. They are survivors of the Holocaust; and he just has been a great champion for human rights.

And so many Members of this body have served in World War II as well, including the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), the distinguished chairman of the full Committee on International Relations, who served in the Pacific theatre and was very active in the liberation, obviously, against Imperial Japan.

But, again, I want to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) for his leadership and his very eloquent statement.

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