By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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Surrenders, like modern wars, are not what they used to be. Tuesday marks the 68th anniversary of the surrender of the German armies that ended the European half of World War II. The last explosions of the war were the popping of champagne corks at 3 o'clock in the morning in the city of Reims in northern France.
The French people sloughed off years of national shame in one glorious summer month in 1944 when, with only minimal assistance from Allied armies, they evicted German troops from Paris. Albert Camus, writing in the clandestine newspaper Combat, spoke of Paris returning to its historic role of purging tyranny with the "blood of free men."
In World War II's final moments in Europe, Associated Press correspondent Edward Kennedy gave his news agency perhaps the biggest scoop in its history. He reported, a full day ahead of the competition, that the Germans had surrendered unconditionally at a former schoolhouse in Reims, France.
''Whether success or failure attends you," wrote British admiral Sir Edward Seymour in the late 19th century, "England nearly always approves an officer who has evidently done his best. You have only to do what seems proper, and if it turns out badly, it is the fault of Nature for not having made you cleverer." Adm. Seymour was not involved in the Franco-British campaign against Turkey in World War I, but his spirit was very much present.
In last week's column celebrating Memorial Day, I wrote that I live to remember. Those weren't just hollow words. They were hallowed words.