May 7, 2021
On May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered to the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, World War II ended in Europe.
On May 8, 1945, for the first time in almost six years, the guns of Europe fell silent. For the first time since September 1939, when together Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Poland, peace returned to the continent.
On May 8, we pause in commemoration of the millions of victims of this terrible war. We stand united in condemning the scourges of racism, anti-Semitism, totalitarianism and imperialism.
We recall our eternal gratitude to the men and women who served Canada in WWII. More than 45,000 Canadians made the supreme sacrifice and over 55,000 were wounded in the struggle to defeat tyranny. Of the more than 1 million Canadians who served in World War II, some 40,000 were of Ukrainian heritage.
“We shall forever remember the valour and determination of our brave soldiers, who fought in WWII defending our country and the cause of freedom,” stated Captain (Retd) Andre Sochaniwsky CD, President of the Ukrainian War Veterans Association of Canada. “We owe to them a debt that we cannot repay. Let us honour their sacrifice.”
On the Western Front, the Western Allies brought with them liberation from tyranny. On the Eastern Front, Stalin’s Soviet Union brought more occupation, oppression and death. For the captive nations of eastern Europe, deliverance and freedom would not come for four decades more, with the collapse of Communism.
Caught between the genocidal empires of Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, in WWII the Ukrainian people, led by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, fought valiantly against both occupiers. We remember their sacrifice and their courage. After many decades of struggle, the Ukrainian people won their independence and their freedom in 1991.
Today that independence is once again under threat. Today, guided by the same evil impulses of imperialism and tyranny that guided Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, Russia again seeks to subjugate the Ukrainian people.
For seven years the Ukrainian people have defended their inalienable right to freedom with unity of purpose and with bravery. May God bring them victory in their just cause.
Lest We Forget. Вічная Пам’ять.