May 8: What is significant about that date? Maybe if I added the year — 1945, maybe then more people would remember that it was the day that World War II ended in Europe.
We were located 20 miles north of Leipzig. Several days earlier, we had met the Russians and all fighting had stopped. Early that morning, our battery commander told us that the war was ended. This was after 195 days in combat. I had thought that there would be some sort of celebration. Maybe someone would make some sort of noise. There was none. There was not even anyone shooting off his rifle into the sky. I had visions of people celebrating in New York. For us it was just another day.
That is, until after dark that evening when I saw the first sign of peace. I saw a truck driving by, and he had his headlights on!
Leo Thoennes, Federal Way