The United States joined European nations in honoring the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe May 8 with a flyover of more than 50 aircraft from that era over the National Mall in Washington.

In his weekly address, President Obama paid tribute to those who fought so that “people the world over, could live free.”

The 1939–1945 conflict devastated Europe and killed around 40 million Europeans, including those murdered in concentration camps. In the United States, the war effort included men and women, and the active participation of civilians on the home front.

“This was the generation that literally saved the world — that ended the war and laid a foundation for peace,” the president said.

Obama said the United States stands with its allies, in Europe and beyond, “on behalf of our common values — 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.’”

Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated Europeans for uniting their continent in the aftermath of the war.

“You did it not by force of arms, but by free movement of trade, ideas, and people. You built a union based on values like the rule of law, democracy, and prosperity for all people,” he said, and “thanks to the European Union, we are closer than ever to a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.”