Yesterday was May 8th, 2015. For those of you out there who are history nerds, yesterday marked the 7th anniversary of one of the most pivotal days in world history: VE Day, May 8th, 1945. Though it seems so far in the past for today’s kids in grade school now, Victory in Europe Day marked a significant turning point in the 20th century—like 9/11 or the JFK assassination, most people who were around remember exactly where they were when they received the news of victory in Europe.
Yet I saw surprisingly little fanfare online yesterday, especially for the 70th anniversary of such a momentous day in history. It made me wonder if people simply forgot, or if as we move farther away from the actual day, it seems to recede into history (for me though, I don’t think it’s the second). It also occurred to me that—sad as it is—many (if not most) of those who were around during VE Day in 1945 aren’t with us anymore. It’s the natural order of life—people pass away, but it does put into perspective things that must have been so momentous to them and that to us perhaps seem less so.
I’m not sure that I think that people simply forgot what yesterday was, but perhaps most decided to take in the anniversary with less fanfare than we summon up for Memorial Day. Perhaps family cookouts and pool parties really aren’t the way to celebrate—but also remember—the near end (victory in the Pacific wouldn’t come for another few months) of one of the most catastrophic wars in history. The historian in me observed yesterday with a certain sense of wistfulness. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.