Keep calm and carry on celebrating VE day at home
- Credit: Archant
Revellers are being encouraged to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day at home.
Tomorrow (Friday) marks the day the guns fell silent in Europe ending six years of conflict across the continent.
Sadly, national and local plans to mark this milestone anniversary due to take place this weekend have been postponed until the VJ Day (Victory over Japan) celebrations in August, or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate this landmark anniversary.
The BBC has launched a VE Day scheme as part of its Make a Difference initiative, and is encouraging people to make their own Great British Bunting out of paper or cardboard, to display in their windows over the weekend.
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A guide on how to make the bunting along with a template can be found online at bbc.in/3cTfBev
The Royal British Legion (RBL) will also be running a live stream at 11.15am, hosted by Sonali Shah, featuring contributions from social historian Julie Summers, and cook Melissa Helmsley.
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The stream will also include members of the World War Two generation sharing their memories and stories of the war.
The legion is also encouraging people to take part in a national sing-a-long of Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again, which will take place at 9pm.
An RBL spokesman said: “As we face some of the most challenging times since the end of World War Two, now more than ever it is important to come together and unite.
“We need you and as many people as possible to take part in this national moment of thanksgiving and celebration, in honour of our World War Two generation.
“You can watch and join in on BBC One who will be featuring the sing-a-long as part of their VE Day broadcast.
English Heritage also has released a pack to help people mark the anniversary from home.
Historian and presenter Dan Snow has set schoolchildren the challenge to research what VE Day is all about.
People are also being encouraged to join a national toast at 3pm to mark the occasion,
Leader of North Somerset Council, Don Davies, said: “While official events to mark VE Day 75 have been cancelled or postponed because of the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, it is still important to remind ourselves of the personal sacrifices and hardship people across the globe faced during World War Two.
“It’s also an opportunity to remember what our service personnel are doing today, whether that be serving abroad, helping to set up the Nightingale hospitals, or running the mobile coronavirus testing units – they continue to serve our country.
“At 11am, people across all generations and communities will be taking take part in a national moment of Remembrance and pause for a two-minute silence to honour the service and sacrifice of the World War Two generation and reflect on the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on so many lives across the world.
“And the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ is at 3pm, so from the safety of your own home, why not stand up and raise a glass of refreshment of your choice ‘to those who gave so much, we thank you,” using this unique opportunity to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad who gave so much to ensure we all enjoy the freedom we have today – something we take for granted.
“I hope we can incorporate some of the cancelled events into the celebrations in August to mark VJ Day.”
Somerset County Council’s armed forces champion, Cllr Rod Williams added: “The 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe is a cause for celebration, but it is also a cause for sombre reflection and remembrance.
“World War Two was a terrible period for the generation that lived through it. The outbreak of the war only 21 years after ‘The War to end Wars’ dashed hopes for peace.
“Victory in Europe led to possibly the greatest achievement of the post-war world – a NATO alliance which has maintained peace for 75 years.”
Are you joining in the celebrations?
Share your World War Two stories, families’ histories, messages of remembrance, pictures of your tea parties, and bunting, or videos of your best Vera Lynn rendition, to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be printing photos and details of these events in next week’s paper.