Western Allies mark WWII victory against Japan

GMT 20:47 2015 Sunday ,16 August

Arab Today, arab today Western Allies mark WWII victory against Japan

Veterans and their families
Beijing - XINHUA

Britain, Canada and the Netherlands held separate activities on Saturday to commemorates the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan in World War Two (WWII).

Britain held nationwide commemorations to mark the 70th V-J Day, as Queen Elizabeth II, other members of the Royal Family and Prime Minister David Cameron attended a service of remembrance with veterans, former prisoners of war at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in central London.

"We are remembering this anniversary today because of the thousands of people who died, suffered appalling injuries and were tortured during this conflict. It is right that we remember, it is right that we thank them and it is right that we recognize that they suffered for our freedoms," Cameron said at the event.

During the service, a wreath was laid at the church's memorial to Far East prisoners of war, which displayed an original section of the notorious Thai-Burma Railway, known as the "Railway of Death" which cost the lives of nearly 18,000 POWs from Britain, the Netherlands, Australia and the United States.

Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Cameron joined hundreds of veterans and their families, members of the armed forces for a commemorative event on Horse Guards Parade near Downing Street.

Veterans and their family members joined about 2,000 people in the event and watched a spectacular flypast of historic and present aircraft.

"It is only right that we recognize the sacrifices made by all those whose actions led to the final victory of Allied Forces in the Second World War and ensured the security at home that we now all enjoy," said Frederick Curzon, minister of state for the Ministry of Defense.

Prince Charles and Cameron laid wreaths at the service on behalf of the nation and the government respectively.

After the service on Horse Guards Parade, veterans and their families joined a parade from Whitehall to Westminster Abbey, with thousands of people lining along the roads cheering for them.

Britain suffered huge losses in the war against Japan during WWII, including tens of thousands of British and Commonwealth casualties on the battlefield and more than 12,000 POWs who died in Japanese prison camps.

Canada held a memorial event Saturday in Ottawa at the National War Memorial to celebrate V-J Day, which marked the end of WWII.

Hundreds of people from all walks of life attended the event, including dozens of veterans, war widows and members of their families.

Many of the veterans were in wheelchairs with medals glistening in the sun.

Canadian Minister of Veteran Affairs Erin O'Toole and Minister of National Defence Jason Kenny made separate speeches recalling brave Canadian troops who made remarkable contributions and tremendous sacrifices during the war against Japan.

The event also featured hymns, a piped lament and moving readings.

The bulk of Canada's military efforts in WWII was focused on defeating Germany in Europe and on the North Atlantic. The country also committed forces in the war against Japan in Asia, with more than 10,000 Canadian soldiers serving at that time.

The best-known Canadian bravery was the defense of Hong Kong in 1941, in which hundreds of Canadian soldiers sacrificed their lives, and survivors suffered terrible hardships as POWs held by Japan till the end of the war.

In the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte attended a memorial on Saturday in The Hague to commemorate the surrender of Japan 70 years ago.

The remembrance ceremony is organized each year on Aug. 15 at the Indisch Monument (the Indies Monument) in The Hague to commemorate the Dutch citizens and soldiers killed during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, in WWII.

For the first time King Willem-Alexander was present as head of state at the memorial. The King laid the first wreath, followed by Rutte and others.

The Dutch survivors of the Japanese occupation later claimed to have received insufficient recognition for the suffering they had experienced.

"Much has been said and done in 70 years, but there (has been) also a long time not much has been said and done," Rutte said in his speech.

"The story about dealing with the Indian war suffering is a difficult and painful story," Rutte added. "In our Indo-Dutch community a common feeling persisted of our failure to realize the horrors of the war in Asia. I regret that."

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