When our senior population awakens today, many will not realize they were a significant part of U.S. history 75 years ago. On Monday, May 7, 1945, Allied forces, led by the mighty clout of U.S military power and spirit, Germany surrendered, which marked the end of World War II in Europe. Japan was to surrender three months later marking the end of a savagely fought war fought across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Thousands of Americans spilled onto the streets across the country to celebrate. Church bells and factory whistles rang out. People danced in the streets. Small towns and villages, mid-sized communities, metropolitan cities and rural America joined in the celebration.

Although the celebration was perhaps brief to some, a much bigger joviality was still to come when Japan surrendered in August 1945.

Scores of seniors will remember being in grade school or high school when the news was announced. Newspapers published special editions. Radio stations interrupted regular broadcasts. There was no television, smartphones, text messages, FAX machines or other electronic gadgets of current times to spread the tidings of joy.

Allied forces in Europe accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender on this day. U.S. troops first arrived in Europe on Jan. 26, 1942. Congress declared war on Germany and Japan following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in the Pacific Dec. 7, 1941. Germany’s ruthless leader, Adolph Hitler, had been waging war against hapless countries in Europe for two years before Pearl Harbor.

On Jan. 27, 1943, U.S. bombs struck Wilhelmshaven in the first American attack on Germany. From then on, U.S. forces and its Allies fought Hitler’s military machine in some of the most savage battles of the conflict — on the ground, in the air and at sea. There was the invasion of Normandy, France June 6, 1944; the liberation of Paris Aug. 24, 1944 and the Battle of the Bulge from Dec. 16, 1944 to Jan. 25, 1945. Some 600,000 GIs participated in the Battle of the Bulge, which stood as the largest battle in American history. Fought in Luxembourg and Belgium as part of the Ardennes Campaign, the battle thwarted the last significant German offensive of the war.

On May 7, 1945 in Reims, France, Germany officially surrendered, ending the fighting in western Europe. It became known as Victory in Europe Day (VE-Day). Fighting in eastern Europe would last another day.

Today is a day for all Americans to remember.