Today is VE Day…..69 years ago the Allies declared Victory in Europe on May 8, 1945. Here is an excerpt from a letter my mother sent home after VE Day.
“Day after VE Day
Dear Beck:
…It is Loddo’s and my day off – most fortunate, too, because last night we did not have bed check for the first time since we’ve been overseas.
….The streets were jammed. It was practically impossible for any vehicle to get through. GIs were driving trucks and jeeps with people crowded all over the vehicles, as best they could through the crowds. Every once in a while a crazy jeep driver loaded down with GIs, French gals, and WACs, too, would maneuver his jeep through a crowd and whiz around the block, he’d have a siren going & flags waving in the breeze. What a sight! A couple officers tried to get Loddo and me into their jeep—but we didn’t feel like risking our necks. Everyone was just going wild.
This took place in the afternoon. In the evening Loddo and I ventured forth –….
It didn’t make any difference where you wanted to go—the crowds just swept you along with them…We finally managed to get back to … the Arc de Triomphe … & almost was smothered in the crowds. The Arc was flood lit & the flags of the Allied nations were flying in the evening breeze…
Frankly, I don’t know what the Army will do with us, but please don’t think just because VE Day has been declared – all I have to do is run out to the docks and grab a boat home. The Army doesn’t operate like that!…
We are watching a lot of the French people stroll by. It’s all very interesting and enjoyable. I’m thinking back to the first day of my service and honestly speaking—I’ve never regretted being in. I’ve a wealth of experience in so many things that civilian life could have never given me. However, now that we can see the beginning of the end, I am not sorry that I shall have to give up this nomadic existence and return to normalcy.
We are watching a group of huge planes flying low. It’s so wonderful to feel that every plane flying over is friendly.”