Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 1, 2020
World War II inflicted unspeakable pain and suffering for tens of millions who fell victim to that horrendous chapter of mankind. And 75 years later, we still feel this impact. This is why the United States is proud to join the global community in commemorating the anniversary of the end of the war.
The enormity of the human toll of the war demands that we reflect upon the lessons learned from the biggest tragedy of the 20th century, and pay our respect to its victims.
As President Harry Truman stated at the conclusion of the war, “Our thoughts go out to our gallant Allies in this war, to those who resisted the invaders, to those who were not strong enough to hold out, but who, nevertheless, kept the fires of resistance alive within the souls of their people, to those who stood up against great odds and held the line, until the United Nations, together, were able to supply the arms and the men with which to overcome the forces of evil. This is a victory of more than arms alone. This is a victory of liberty over tyranny.”
The war left an estimated 60 million dead worldwide, with civilians comprising the majority of the countless wounded, displaced, and missing.
We remember the horror of the Holocaust of the Jews, the genocide of the Roma, and the persecution of the other marginalized groups by the Nazis and their sympathizers and collaborators.
While we honor the memory of those mercilessly killed and tortured, as well as the trauma felt by generations, we must renew our solemn vow to fight against modern-day atrocities.
We call upon the international community to reflect upon and confront the lessons of that terrible war, and to carry forth the voices and experiences of those who endured it, to teach the lessons of history to future generations.
This is also a time to embrace our common humanity and affirm the sanctity of every precious life.
The vast death and destruction of the Second World War made obvious the need for a convening body dedicated to peace, security, and human rights. Those objectives were enshrined in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are the basis upon which we must work together today to build a peaceful, prosperous, and just world for all.
Wherever these principles are violated, stability, development, and human lives are threatened.
As we mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, we hold its victims in our collective hearts and memories. May we summon the political will to end the tyrannies of our own time, to aid the victims of war and oppression, and to work for reconciliation and peace among all nations.
In the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”