World War II commemorative event, Horse Guards Parade, 10 July 2005


An act of remembrance is an act of honour.

The Second World War ended in Europe in May sixty years ago, but continued until September in the Pacific. Today we commemorate all those who lived, worked and fought through six long years of unremitting hardship and sacrifice.

We remember also the unswerving support of the people of the Commonwealth, the United States and of all our allies; it was the triumph of this great alliance that saved the world from tyranny.

Those years of sacrifice have not been in vain. The horror of that conflict inspired the creation of the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and the European Union.

Sadly, we cannot claim that the world has been free from war - or terror - for the last sixty years, but in Europe at least we have been faithful to all those who lost their lives in that great struggle with a vigorous determination to build on what unites rather than divides us.

I am sure that this commemoration will encourage those who have lived through these post-war years of peace and prosperity to reflect on the debt they owe to our wartime generation.

It does not surprise me that, during the present, difficult days for London, people turn to the example set by that generation - of resilience, humour, sustained courage, often under conditions of great deprivation. That example and those memories should be kept alive by younger generations as they in turn strive to keep the peace in our troubled world.

But there is another reason why we must never forget. An act of remembrance is an act of honour - to those who sacrificed all, who bore the sufferings of war, who had the wisdom to build the peace. It is a tribute to you the veterans and your loved ones.

At this special occasion I wish to express on behalf of the nation our admiration, our respect and our thanks to you for what you gave all those years ago in the cause of freedom and our way of life - which we shall continue to defend as you did.

Related content

A message of condolence from Her Majesty The Queen to the Prime Minister of Haiti

I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and destruction caused by the earthquake in Haiti. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost their lives, loved ones...

16 August 2021

The Queen's Jubilees and other milestones

Find out more about how Her Majesty's reign has been celebrated at key moments.

A history of Jubilees

Royal Jubilees are an occasion to celebrate the life and reign of a Monarch.

The Queen's Commonwealth Day Message 2021

Stirring examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication to duty have been demonstrated in every Commonwealth nation and territory.

07 March 2021

A message from Her Majesty The Queen on the 75th anniversary of VJ day

May the memory of their sacrifice and bravery remain with us always.

15 August 2020

Commonwealth Day 2020

09 March 2020

The Queen's 2020 Commonwealth Day Message

Such a blend of traditions serves to make us stronger, individually and collectively, by providing the ingredients needed for social, political and economic resilience

09 March 2020

Remembrance 2019

Members of the Royal Family remember the war dead.

A speech by The Countess of Wessex celebrating the work of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust

On behalf of the people The Trust has helped thank you to each and every one of you for all your incredible support, and to Your Majesty thank you for choosing to give the...

29 October 2019

International Youth Day 2019

12 August 2019

The 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings

Members of the Royal Family remember the sacrifices made during the Allied landings

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018

Find out more about Royal events at this year's meeting, which is being held in London

Commonwealth Day 2018

12 March 2018

The Queen's speech at the commissioning ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Queen Elizabeth embodies the best of British technology and innovation – a true flagship for the 21st century

11 December 2017

Prince Harry delivers a message from The Queen at RAF Honnington

The presentation of Colours is an opportunity to recognise historic achievements and to look forward to the future with confidence; a confidence built upon the dedication of...

19 July 2017

A Message from Her Majesty The Queen on the opening of the 2017 Commonwealth Science Conference

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the Commonwealth Science Conference in Singapore following the success of the Bangalore Conference in 2014. I am very grateful...

13 June 2017

The Queen addresses The Royal Lancers at Windsor Castle

You have established yourselves as a unified Regiment and a force without match

05 April 2017
Press release 20 December 2016

The Queen's Patronages

Read more

A message from Her Majesty The Queen to the people of Barbados on the 50th Anniversary of Independence

Since you became an independent country in 1966, you have continued to flourish and grow into a strong and confident nation.

30 November 2016

A speech by Prince Harry on the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy dedication in St Lucia

On behalf of my grandmother, The Queen, I am grateful to the Government and the people of St. Lucia for this most generous contribution.

27 November 2016

Remembrance 2016

The Queen and the Royal Family attend engagements to mark Remembrance 2016

The Queen's Response to the Chief Engineer, on the Corps of Royal Engineers 300th anniversary

I would wish all Sappers, wherever they may be, every success and good fortune in the future

13 October 2016