Celebration, recognition will mark V-E Day anniversary

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published May 6, 2015


ROYAL OAK — An anniversary celebration and tribute will be held Friday in honor of the 70th Anniversary of V-E Day.

V-E Day signifies the end of World War II in Europe. World War II had two major fronts — one in the Pacific and one in Europe — and May 8, 1945, was the end of the war in Europe.

The 70th anniversary celebration will take place from 4:30-7:30 p.m. May 8 at Memorial Park, the future home of the World War II Legacy Memorial at the northeast corner of 13 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue.

“There were so many horrors that took place in the war surrounding the Holocaust and the way Germany dealt with its neighbors, and the absolute devastation,” said Russell Levine, vice president of the Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial. “This was the end of it, and it’s really important to celebrate it and recognize it and celebrate it.”

Levine said it is also important to recognize the 70th anniversary of V-E Day because of the age of the surviving participants.

“There aren’t going to be a lot of opportunities to thank them and recognize them, so this is a special one, and we really want to make sure that we do that,” he said.

Levine said the Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial is Michigan’s official tribute to its contributions both on the war front and the home front, so the location is right for the celebration.

Levine said that one of the event highlights will be at 6 p.m. with the unfurling of a massive American flag, along with the Yankee Lady B-17 bomber from the Yankee Air Museum flying overhead.

“While the plane is flying overhead, we’re going to have a giant American flag, 60 feet by 30 feet, and it’s going to be held by veterans, by students, by homefront workers and other dignitaries we’re going to have in the audience,” Levine said.

In addition to veterans and original Rosie the Riveters, the event will feature food trucks, giveaways, music, a photo contest, historic vehicles, and the Berkley High School symphony band and color guard. Special 70th anniversary V-E Day Victory Medal pins will be available at the event.

A giant thank-you card will be on-site for guests to sign in honor of veterans and homefront workers.

The V-E Day celebration will include guest speaker Henri Nussbaum, member of French Forces of the Interior, F.F.I., part of the French Resistance.

“The whole point of the memorial is that we’re paying tribute to the homefront and the war front,” Levine said.

The free event is open to the public.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit www.michigan ww2memorial.org/events.