The Prince of Wales has told World War Two veterans that they are ”respected, thanked and cherished with all our hearts, and for all time”. Prince Charles’ words came as he led tributes on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.
The prince was speaking at a special ceremony at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire, held on the morning of August 15th 2020. He was accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall.
Charles and Camilla took part in a two minute silence to remember all those who died, exactly three quarters of a century after the final battles of the Second World War came to an in Asia and the Pacific and the surrender of Japan was signed.
The Prince of Wales laid a wreath of red poppies while the Duchess of Cornwall placed a posy of flowers in remembrance in the ceremony which took place in front of the Burma Star Grove at the Arboretum.
In his speech, Prince Charles paid tribute to ”extraordinary bravery, resourcefulness and tenacity demonstrated by those who fought in the Asia-Pacific Theatre of the Second World War”, adding starkly that ”without them, the war could not have been won”.
He made reference to his own family’s involvement in the war, noting that the Duke of Edinburgh was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrender was ratified and Charles also spoke of his beloved great-uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who, he said ”helped me begin to understand the quite atrocious conditions experienced by our forces throughout South East Asia”.
The Prince of Wales continued ”I am proud and humbled to be able to join you all in expressing my profound respect and admiration to the Veterans and survivors of that interminable and terrible campaign. Above all, however, let us remember all those who never returned, and would never grow old. We pray that their stories will be passed on to the generations of today and tomorrow so that we can learn from their example.”
And the Prince finished by saying ”We salute all those who remain among us, and offer our most heartfelt and undying gratitude for those who are gone before. Your service and your sacrifice will echo through the ages.”
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall later got the chance to speak to the veterans who had gathered at the Arboretum to remember their friends and colleagues.