VE Day message - Archbishop of Wales
The Archbishop of Wales pays tribute to the self-sacrifice, bravery and determination of those who won Victory in Europe, 75 years ago today.
In a message for VE Day, the Archbishop, John Davies, says that at a time when we are fighting an invisible enemy and are fearful for our future we give thanks for those who faced a “terrifyingly visible” enemy. Victory, he says, took “a supreme effort of will and of commitment, rooted in the conviction that good would ultimately prevail.”
He says, “Please join with me in lamenting the waste of precious lives and resources, but in doing so, most importantly, give profound thanks for each and every single one of the countless acts of sacrifice, bravery and sheer determination which meant this very visible enemy was defeated.”
Archbishop John also invites people to join him in a VE Day prayer.
You can watch the Archbishop's message here or read it below.
Archbishop's VE Day Message
We live in the strangest of times – unprecedented times as we have so often heard.
Times during which we are facing what has often been referred to as an ‘invisible enemy’ – the enemy of a particular and virulent disease which, in our nation, has claimed the lives of almost 30,000 people. Worldwide the death toll exceeds 250,000.
Fears for the future, personal, economic and national abound, and loneliness, isolation and anxiety characterise the lives of millions across the world and in our local communities.
Uncertainty about the future is perhaps one of the few certainties of present circumstances.
On this day, 75 years ago, Europe formally marked the defeat not of a random, silent, invisible enemy, but the defeat, in Europe, of Nazism – an evil, brutal and terrifyingly visible enemy; an enemy which wrought horrific, calculated, and targeted destruction and suffering upon many, too many, not least upon the innocent, and upon people deemed in the minds of those who were that enemy to be worthless, valueless, an untrustworthy threat, and of no account – deemed to be expendable.
The evil which this visible enemy represented, the calculating, twisted ideology which was its driving force, had to be confronted and faced down. It had to be defeated.
Achieving this demanded a supreme effort of will and of commitment, rooted in the conviction that good would ultimately prevail.
That it did prevail was viewed by many as little short of a miracle, and the cost was great. As for the human cost, there is no exact figure, but it is estimated that between 70 and 85 million people perished in the conflict - more than the entire population of the United Kingdom, somewhere between 20 and 30 times the present population of Wales.
Such a vast number is hard to comprehend, but each single life was the life of someone loved, someone precious, someone unique. Each life lost marking the destruction of hopes, the ruin of dreams. Each single loss casting a consequently dark shadow over many other lives.
The means which had to be employed in securing the defeat of this enemy were, themselves, sometimes fearful, but they were deemed to be necessary in the fight.
Today, please join with me in lamenting the waste of precious lives and resources, but in doing so, most importantly, give profound thanks for each and every single one of the countless acts of sacrifice, bravery and sheer determination which meant this very visible enemy was defeated.
God of truth, God of love, freedom and justice, hear the prayers of thanksgiving which we offer for those who, in their lives, brought the defeat of Nazism in Europe.
Hear our thanks for their bravery; their commitment; their sacrifice. Grant us, in our own time, to prize the freedom which they won, to love the peace which they helped build. And, in our words and deeds, make us people of love and peace who seek justice and freedom for all in our own time and in our future.
We make this prayer through your son, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.