WASHINGTON-- President Barack Obama marked the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat during World War II by paying tribute to the men and women who he says helped save the world and lay the foundation for peace.
Mr. Obama said this generation showed "selfless grace" as they risked -- and gave -- their lives so that people around the world could live free.
"We will be forever grateful for what these remarkable men and women did, for the selfless grace they showed in one of our darkest hours," the president said in his weekly radio address.
He asks Americans to do more than just commemorate history. He asks them to rededicate themselves to the freedoms for which these men and women fought.
"Let's make sure that we keep striving to fulfill our founding ideals--that we're a country where no matter who we are or where we're from or what we look like or who we love, if we work hard and take responsibility, every American will have the opportunity to make of our lives what we will," Mr. Obama said.
"Let's stand united with our allies, in Europe and beyond, on behalf of our common values," the president added. "Freedom, security, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law around the world--and against bigotry and hatred in all their forms so that we give meaning to that pledge: 'Never forget. Never again,'"
The White House released the radio and Internet address a day earlier than usual to coincide with Friday's 70th anniversary of the victory by Allied forces over Nazi Germany in 1945.
A ceremony will be held at the World War II memorial in the nation's capital, where veterans will lay wreaths on the memorial's Freedom Wall. A noon commemoration will include WWII aircraft flying over the National Mall.