'God, it's over,' veteran says as news broke that World War II had ended
Published Tuesday, May 5, 2015 6:11PM EDT
The end of the Second World War was announced on May 7, 1945 – VE Day.
A full 70 years later, it’s hard to imagine how much relief the end brought.
Sarnia veteran John Mills is returning to the battlefields this week for the first time since the war ended.
The 1st Hussars vet admitted to being fearful about confronting old memories.
“I know I can face some things that will take place that maybe I never even thought about."
He was at a captured Luftwaffe airbase when he heard the announcement on the radio about the war’s end.
“The Germans had unconditionally surrendered. And they blasted that a couple of times out. And…Good night. It’s over.”
The end of the war came with immediate reflection for him.
"God, it’s over with. I don’t have to worry about the popping and banging of guns and what-not.”
For 17-year-old Flo Abrims, she heard the news while in a Sarnia dentist’s chair.
“The announcer was all excited that the war was over,” she recalled.
Abrims found her friends and headed downtown. “We went out on the street. Everybody had congregated that could.”
Then newspapers hit the stands, making it clear soldiers were headed back home.
"They had a parade that went all downtown. Three to four thousand people were dancing in the streets that night,” said Dana Throne of the Lambton County Archives.
As Mills reflected on the time, he is ready to accept gratitude for the freedom he won for the Netherlands.
"It's kind of something when you think, you can go back and see some of these people, that have may be have been freed by the Canadians and that. It must be a great thing for them."