Secretary Wilkie on the 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II


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On May 8, we marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, a victory for the forces of freedom that shaped the world for all of us who followed.

Most of us have no direct memory of how America and its allies joined together to save the world from tyranny. Most of us can only read about how General Dwight D. Eisenhower rallied his troops before they parachuted into France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

“Soldiers, Sailors and Airman of the Allied Expeditionary Force!” he said, in his D-Day statement. “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

He added in encouragement, “The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!”

Our forces didn’t let Eisenhower down.

That same general who would later be president was much more subdued when victory was in hand. After Germany signed an initial surrender, the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force struggled with how to capture the moment. Eisenhower kept it simple: “The mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7, 1945,” he wrote.

A final surrender was signed on May 8, 1945, and the war was over.

Our knowledge of history is based on interpretations of these mile markers. But millions of men and women lived in the terrifying moments in between, and only they know how they made Eisenhower’s rallying cry come true. We are fortunate that some of those who lived through this incredible chapter of American history are still with us today. Their triumph is not forgotten at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where we still care for some of these brave service members who didn’t falter when the eyes of the world were upon them. And we know their victory will never be forgotten by this grateful nation.

To all those who carried the fate of the world on their back so very long ago – we thank you, and we remain in your debt. And congratulations on the 75th anniversary of your great victory.

Author

Robert Wilkie

The Honorable Robert L. Wilkie was sworn in to serve as secretary of Veterans Affairs on July 30, 2018. He also served as the acting secretary of Veterans Affairs from March 28, 2018 to May 29, 2018.

Before confirmation as VA Secretary, Mr. Wilkie served Secretary James Mattis as his Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness—the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for Total Force Management as it relates to readiness, National Guard and Reserve component affairs, health affairs, training, and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and the quality of life for military families.

Comments

  1. Griff Griffith    

    What’s the status of H.R. 5610, The Fair Care for Vietnam Veterans Act?

  2. Mary Nowicki    

    Dear Charles,
    I am so sorry that you have been suffering for so long with this. I commend you on your good health and thank you for your service and many sacrifices for your country, fellow Veterans and Americans. As a Veteran myself, I know how frustrating it can be to work with the VA Healthcare System. If you have already been through eligibility and have been assigned a Primary Care doctor. Request to see a specialist for your evaluation, once you have been diagnosed, you should put in a claim. The statute of limitation has been repealed by a new law. Conditions worsen over time and need to be re-evaluated. If you need additional help there is a Link on the homepage of eBenefits where you can obtain free services from a Representative that will help you process your claim. There are also associations like DAV,, VFW and some others that will help you fight for your benefits and your claim, no charge! Good luck, there is always HOPE as long as YOU don’t give up! God bless.

  3. Charles floyd    

    MY name is Charles Floyd. I am a Vietnam era veteran. I tried many years ago to get help with my hearing. I went to the VA hospital in Charleston, SC. I was told I waited to long to process a claim. I am now 73 years old and in pretty good health except for this incessive ringing in my ears. I know this is not the correct platform but thought you could pass it to the correct one.

    1. Duncan Low    

      It’s not too late. I’m seventy and filed a claim when I was about 65. I got hearing loss and tinnitus during the Vietnam conflict. I am now 10% disabled and this year qualified for free hearing aids. I would encourage you to get help filing your claim through your local veterans organization.

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