This Friday 8th May marks 75 years since fighting ended on European soil, and so this email is all about that as we remember the value of courage, patience, mutual support and endurance – qualities needed today as well!
Our Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden MP said, “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the greatest generation that served in combat and on the home front during the Second World War. Whilst we now need to celebrate VE 75 in our homes and on our doorsteps, rather than in parades and street parties, I know the nation will come together to mark this historic occasion.”
There had been many commemorations and celebrations planned before the necessary Covid19 restrictions came into place. However, there’s still lots going on this coming weekend, to mark the occasion. So if you’re keen to join in some of the nation’s tributes from home, here’s a quick summary of some of the key moments:
Key moments you may wish to join in with on Friday 8th May:
- 11am National Remembrance Two Minute silence.
- 11.15am VE Day 75 Livestream. This is a 45minute live stream discussion bringing today’s generation together with those from WW2 to discuss shared experiences. You can tune in to this on the Legion’s Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/OfficialPoppyLegion/
- 3pm a “Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2” at 3pm on 8 May, from the safety of their own home. Participants can stand up and raise a glass, saying: “To those who gave so much, we thank you.”
- 9pm Her Majesty The Queen will address the nation. The pre-recorded address will be broadcast on the BBC at 21:00 - the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address 75 years ago.
- Her Majesty the Queen’s 9pm address to the nation will be followed by a national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’. The public will be encouraged to open their doors and join in with this national moment of celebration. https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/stories/ve-day-singalong
- The BBC will broadcast two special programmes on BBC One to mark VE 75. As part of this, the Prime Minister will speak about the importance of VE day. Extracts from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech will be read to recreate the moment peace in Europe was announced 75 years ago at 3pm. The programmes are on at 2.45-3.45pm and 8pm – 9.10pm.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has produced a resource pack https://ve-vjday75.gov.uk/toolkit/.
There’s also info here to help people hold a 1940s style afternoon tea party at home complete with homemade VE Day bunting, original recipes, and a suggested playlist of songs!
For those with children there’s Dan Snow’s VE Day Challenge https://ve-vjday75.gov.uk/dan-snows-ve-day-challenge/. Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow will also be hosting history lessons for children from Monday 4 May. At 4pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Dan will host a History Hit live on YouTube’s Timeline channel that will focus on a different aspect of the Second World War and aim to teach the children about the importance of VE Day.
The Government and Ancestry are working together to encourage the public to join together in commemorating VE Day by discovering their own connection to the Second World War. As part of this, all UK historical records available on ancestry.co.uk will be free for the public from Monday 4 May until Sunday 10 May, giving people the opportunity to uncover the personal stories of the Second World War and the roles their families played.
Tommy in the Window Campaign
Armed forces charity Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) has also launched its "Tommy in the Window" campaign. Former Head of the British Army Lord Richard Dannatt supports the campaign to place a Tommy in the window. The Perspex soldier figures have been made by injured veterans in the RBLI's social enterprise factory. All money raised from the campaign will go towards the charity's work to provide employment, training and support to veterans and their families. For more information https://rbli.co.uk/veday/
And finally – The Lindy Hop!
For those feeling particularly energetic, English Heritage’s VE Day pack includes recipes and also instructions for dancing the Lindy Hop…!