08 May 2023

After El Cinco, Le Huit

 Three days ago, Cinco de Mayo was celebrated by, I am told, more gringos in Los Estados Unidos than actual Mexicans anywhere in the world.

Today is another holiday or day of commemoration, depending on where you are.  Or, if you are in the Americas, you might not be aware of it.

On this date in 1945, the Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of German forces.  Since then, in France and other countries, this date is celebrated as Victory in Europe Day.  (If you hear a French person say something that sounds like “wheat-may,” they’re talking about huit mai: this date). In Germany, it is a somber day of commemoration.  Here in the US, it was observed mainly by veterans—of whom very few remain—of World War II’s European theatre.

As I noted in an earlier post, bicycles played a significant role in the war and led, interestingly, to lighter bicycles and changes in civilian attire.

Here is a photo Robert John McNary Smith, who served in engineer and weather units of the US Army, took on the Champs-Elysées on 8 May 1945.  It’s part of the National World War II Museum’s collection.

No comments:

Post a Comment