May 8 & 9: Days for remembering the victims of World War II
Today is May 8. Every year, May 8 and 9 are observed as days to remember and pay tributes to the victims of the Second World War.
The United Nations General Assembly, by a resolution passed on November 22, 2004, declared the universal occasion even while recognising the fact that its member states might have different days marking victory, liberation and commemoration.
It invited all its members, organisations of the UN as well as the non-governmental organisations and individuals to observe either of the days or both as occasions dedicated to the victims of the devastating war which was fought between 1939 and 1945.
It was on May 8, 1945, when the Allied Powers accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, marking an end to the great war. It is also referred to as Victory in Europe Day.
The formal surrender of the German troops occupying the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy in northern France took place by May 9. Between 50 and 85 million lives were lost in what is known as the deadliest conflict in the history of mankind.
The General Assembly of the UN, which came into being replacing the League of Nations after the war ended, said the historic occasion created conditions for the creation of the world body that strives for international cooperation and peace.
The Assembly invited the member states to join hands to deal with new threats with the UN playing a central role and make efforts to settle disputes through peaceful means and in conformity with the UN Charter and in a way that doesn't threaten international peace and security.
Several European countries observe May 8 as a holiday to remember the happy yet gloomy occasion. Russia and a number East European countries and the Central Asian Republics observe May 9 as holiday in commemoration of Victory Day.
Russia or the Soviet Union had lost over 20 million people in the war, becoming one of the biggest victims of the Axis Powers' atrocities.