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Australia commemorates end of WW2 with message of unity

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In socially distanced ceremonies across Australia that echoed a message of unity, politicians, veterans and ordinary people commemorated on Saturday the 75th anniversary of the day that brought the end of World War Two to the country.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese laid wreaths at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, with a small group of veterans attending the national ceremony, subdued by the coronavirus pandemic.

“A country of seven million united and became one in a mighty national effort to defend human civilisation from the bullies who sought to destroy it,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“Australia wasn’t alone. We stood with our allies and our friends, this was a global fight. All understood that if tyranny was not confronted together, eventually it would be confronted alone. True then, true today.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (R) and Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese (L) speak to Australian War Veteran Les Cook (C) at a service to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Pacific Day at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia, 15 August 2020. EPA-EFE/LUKAS COCH / POOL

The Aug. 15 Victory in the Pacific Day commemorates Japan’s acceptance of the Allies’ demand to surrender, three months after Nazi Germany surrendered in Europe.

Almost one million Australians served in World War Two. Some 39,000 died and another 30,000 were taken prisoner, according to government data. About 12,000 of those serving in the war are still alive.

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