Next Friday, 8th May, is the 75th anniversary of VE Day,
which signalled the end of the Second World War in Europe.
Unfortunately, due to current restrictions, most VE Day 75 events have had to be cancelled.
However, this has meant that there’s had to be a bit of
creative thinking about how people can still get involved in marking this important event in the nation’s history.
At 11am on Friday the 8th of May, the Royal British Legion is encouraging people from all generations and communities to take part in a national moment of Remembrance and to pause for a Two Minute Silence in honour of the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation, but also to take the opportunity to reflect on the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on so many lives across the world this year.
There is no right or wrong way to take part in the Silence – people may wish to stand at their windows, step outside their homes while remaining distanced from others, watch the broadcast on television, or simply sit in a quiet moment of reflection at their desks or workplaces.
Following the Silence, the Legion is hosting a VE Day 75 livestream, sharing stories and memories from those who served and sacrificed during the Second World War, whilst also recognising the difficulties people are experiencing today. Everyone is invited to grab a cup of tea and join in as the World War Two generation is brought together with today’s generation to chat about their shared experiences.
Later in the day the BBC will honour and celebrate the Second World War generation with an evening of memories and music from 8pm.
And to mark this historic occasion, Her Majesty the Queen will send a message to the nation at 9pm, the time her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945. This will then be followed by a national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’, with the public encouraged to open their doors and join in with this shared moment of celebration.
Lyrics are available on The Royal British Legion’s website https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/stories/ve-day-singalong
The Council is also planning its own commemorations for VE Day. Although museums may be closed, our staff have been working hard to prepare an online mini-exhibition which will virtually showcase one object per day from the collections, all related to the Second World War in Calderdale. Images of the items will be posted at 11am each day from Saturday 2nd May up to the anniversary, from the @BankfieldMuseum twitter account. On Friday 8th May, a new web page will show all the photos and provide further information about each object.
What we are experiencing today is of course different to the circumstances of 75 years ago but, as the Royal British Legion says, we can learn and our response must essentially remain the same:
Be kind. Unite. We can, and we will, pull through this together.