Andy Rooney on VE Day

70 years ago, Germans surrendered, ending WWII in Europe. From the 60 Minutes archives, the late Andy Rooney talks about Victory in Europe Day

The following is commentary written by Andy Rooney for a 60 Minutes segment which aired on May 8, 2005.

I don't like being so old that I know a lot about some things that most of you do not know. But I am, and I do. Today, May 8th, is called VE Day. It stands for Victory in Europe in 1945, the day the Germans surrendered to us in Reims, France. One of the things I know that most of you do not is that the Germans actually surrendered on May 7th, not May 8th.

General Eisenhower had made a deal with the Russians to keep it secret until the Germans surrendered to them the next day. Up until the surrender, the town of Reims was best known for its cathedral. It's one of the great structures ever built on the face of the Earth. Its soaring, vaulted arches and stained glass windows are spectacular.

When American tourists go to Reims today, there's another attraction. It's this ordinary school building where the Germans surrendered. I've been back myself.

"I don't like being so old that I know a lot about some things that most of you do not know. But I am, and I do."

On the very early morning of May 7th, 1945, 13 men gathered around this table for one of the most momentous meetings in the history of the world. The school building embarrasses the French. They don't like to be reminded that we rescued them from defeat by the Germans.

Ten years ago, I stood in front of an inconspicuous plaque they put up. It's the only indication of the great event that took place inside. In 1945, I was a reporter for the Army newspaper, The Stars and Stripes, when the Germans surrendered. I'd gone to Nice on the Riviera that day to write a story about American soldiers on leave there. The GIs, who just a few days before had been living in muddy foxholes at the front, were in paradise, looking at topless French girls on the sand and sleeping between clean white sheets in some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. This was the ironic headline the editors of The Stars and Stripes put on the story I wrote about our soldiers' reaction to that surrender.

Some people keep things, other people throw them away. I keep things. This newspaper with my byline is one of the treasures I've kept because of my memories of yesterday, May 7th, 60 years ago.