June 3, 2020
Last month, we gathered to mark the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War Two – the commemoration of the day when peace and hope finally returned to Europe, but also a time to reflect on the immense human toll the war had taken.
Today we are here on Mount Mangart to remember what happened in the days and weeks after the end of the war. When a bunch of American soldiers were able to take a deep breath and go back to having fun – even if just for a little while.
Throughout the war they fought for freedom alongside forces resisting occupation in Slovenia. But what they discovered on the slopes of this stunning peak was that Americans and Slovenians have even more in common – a shared sense of adventure, camaraderie, sportsmanship, and joy. And in the decades since, the relationship between our two nations has continued to grow and thrive based on shared heritage, shared values, and what soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division learned as they strapped on their skis on a spring day in 1945 – that we just really enjoy each other’s company.
So in closing, to our colleagues in the Ministry of Defense, the Slovenian Armed Forces, and especially to the community here in the Soča (so-CHAH) Valley who have kept the memory of the Great Mangart Race alive and preserved this important part of our combined history.
Hvala iz vsega srca.