NATO Celebrates 75th Anniversary of the Alliance

Foreign Ministers from around the globe gathered at NATO Headquarters to mark 75 years since the signing of the Alliance’s founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty.

Since 1949, the Alliance has worked collectively to secure peace, democracy, and prosperity for its members, now counting 32 Allies and one billion people on both sides of the Atlantic. This year’s NATO Day is particularly significant as it comes just weeks after Sweden, a country with a long-standing tradition of neutrality, joined as the 32nd member of the Alliance, underscoring NATO’s continued growth and relevance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the 75th anniversary.

Stronger Than Ever

In a speech on April 4, 2024, marking the anniversary, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated, “NATO is bigger, stronger, and more united than ever.”

The founding treaty, normally secured in Washington, D.C., was on display at NATO Headquarters for the first time.

“Never has a single document with so few words meant so much to so many people. So much security, so much prosperity, and so much peace. All because of its solemn promise: that we stand together, and protect one another, as we have for 75 years.”

Admiral Bauer, Chair of the NATO Military Committee, stated that across Europe and North America, 3.5 million men and women in uniform are upholding a shield against aggression. “Together, we are protecting much more than physical safety. We are collectively defending freedom and democracy.”

Monuments throughout Brussels also marked NATO’s anniversary.

Marking the Occasion

Monuments throughout Brussels also marked NATO’s anniversary:

  • In Parc du Cinquantenaire, the NATO flag flew under the Memorial Arch, and buildings in the city were illuminated in NATO blue, including the City Hall of Brussels and the Egmont Palace.
  • The iconic Manneken Pis statue, donned a special NATO Day costume to join the festivities.
  • Other Allies also marked the anniversary with events including public discussions, musical performances and the illumination of buildings in NATO blue.

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, remarked that NATO has been the cornerstone of transatlantic security for 75 years.

“Created in the aftermath of the Second World War, it unites 32 countries around collective defence – the principle that we are stronger together. On this milestone anniversary, we celebrate the Alliance and our fellow Allies for their contributions to protecting freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.”

NATO members marked the organizations 75th anniversary.

Canada a Founding Member

As a founding member of NATO in 1949, the Prime Minister said the country has “deepened our role in the Alliance by participating in nearly every NATO operation. From the violent aftermath of Yugoslavia’s collapse to the response to the tragic events of 9/11, NATO has come together again and again. And today, with the accessions of Finland and Sweden, the Alliance’s solidarity remains resolute.”

Prime Minister Trudeau also highlighted NATO’s response to Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine.

“Starting in 2014, NATO has undertaken the greatest collective defence efforts in a generation to promote security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe. Ukraine is fighting for its land, its culture, and its right to self-determination, but it is also fighting for democracy – and NATO stands steadfast in support of Ukraine.”

To support our Allies on NATO’s Eastern Flank, he said Canada currently has over 1,300 Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to Europe under Operation Reassurance and will significantly increase the number to 2,200. Above image: Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia participate in Exercise WOLVERINE FORGE as part of Operation REASSURANCE, held at Camp Adazi Training area on February 10, 2023. Photo by: Sergeant 1st Class Christian Milano, Spanish Army.

Canada’s Continued Support

To support our Allies on NATO’s Eastern Flank, he said Canada currently has over 1,300 Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to Europe under Operation Reassurance and will significantly increase the number to 2,200, strengthening what was already Canada’s largest active overseas military operation.

“Today, Canada is the seventh largest financial contributor to the Alliance, and we know there is more to do,” stated PM Trudeau. “That’s why we are modernizing the North American Aerospace Defense Command and making massive investments in the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force, including through the purchase of new warships, maritime patrol aircraft, and F‑35 fighter jets.

“As we tackle the threats of today and tomorrow, we must, and we will, invest even more in Canada’s defence capabilities – helping make sure NATO remains agile, strong, and ready. Canadians know that we are stronger together. Canada and the NATO Alliance will always stand up in defence of peace and freedom. Today, I encourage all Canadians to learn more about our collective defence efforts and celebrate NATO’s contributions to security.

“As we mark 75 years of NATO, let’s reaffirm our work to strengthen the Alliance and to stand up for freedom, justice, and democracy around the world.”

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