Europe, U.S. mark 75 years since end of Second World War

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other dignitaries attending a wreath laying ceremony in Berlin on Friday.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The world must draw lessons from the past and work together to beat the coronavirus pandemic, European leaders urged as the continent marked 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe.

With parades and commemoration events cancelled or scaled down as part of measures to contain the outbreak, Europe and the U.S. marked the victory over Nazi Germany in sombre mood.

In Berlin, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel kept their distance as they paused in front of wreaths at Neue Wache — the country’s main memorial to the victims of war and dictatorship. Mr. Steinmeier called on nations to remember how they joined forces to fight the tyranny of Nazism and said the same unity was needed to defeat a virus that has killed over 2,70,000 people. “We want more, not less cooperation in the world — also in the fight against the pandemic.”

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In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a letter to veterans, said: “On this anniversary, we are engaged in a new struggle against the coronavirus which demands the same spirit of national endeavour that you exemplified 75 years ago.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, in a statement, said, “Today, as we reflect on the 75th anniversary of the end of the World War II, we are reminded that no challenge is greater than the resolve of the American spirit,” he said. “Over the past months, our Nation has faced remarkable adversity during the pandemic. But just as we have so many times before, America will triumph.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country celebrates Victory Day on May 9, recorded a special video message for the Austrian people to mark the anniversary, wishing them “happiness, peace and prosperity”.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 3:45:54 PM |

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