It’s VE Day Tomorrow – What Does It Mean To You?

It’s VE Day Tomorrow – What Does It Mean To You? Purple Lime

What is VE Day?

VE Day or Victory in Europe Day is the day that marks the end of fighting in Europe during the Second World War.  The war had lasted for nearly six years, and on May 7th 1945 Winston Churchill announced Germany had officially surrendered, he also declared that the next day, 8th May would be a national holiday.

In 1945, VE day was celebrated with street parties, parades and celebrations across Britain. And, boy, did they celebrate. Who could blame them! Six years of uncertainty and loss and pain.

It was a sweet day, with a hint of bitter too. Many of the armed forces were still held prisoner; millions had lost their lives; people had lost their homes, and many evacuees were still far from home.

This Day 2020:

The British Legion had planned many events to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the entire Second World War generation, from British, Commonwealth and Allied Forces to evacuees and those who served on the home front.

However now, we as a nation are facing the most challenging time since the end of that war. Now more than ever it is important to unite in the recognition of people’s service to the nation, as communities did 75 years ago.

This year, as well as remember the generation who served in the war, both at home and away, we can also pay tribute to front line workers who are serving our country at a time of peace, who are fighting against the hidden dangers of Covid19.

How are we going to celebrate VE day this year?

Some of our team are already well ahead with plans. The street where our co-founder Angela lives has planned a day of celebrations, all at a safe social distance.

The day includes, aerobics, (which they have already been doing two to three times a week) a golf putting competition and one young lad has made a bingo game for people to join in, along with other children’s activities.

Each household is going to have a picnic or afternoon tea, probably with a few drinks to celebrate too.

Red, white and blue bunting is going to be adorning the houses in the street, and at 9pm they’re going to sing ‘We’ll meet again’.

Two other team members, Angela Rice and Julia are also taking part in local community front garden picnics, and decorating houses with bunting.

Other VE Day moments and memories:

Angela A’s mum is 90 years old this July.  She remembers everyone being out in the street dancing, and waving flags on May 8 1945.  She also remembers seeing pictures of Churchill on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with the King and Queen, and our now Queen Elizabeth, and her sister Princess Margaret.

Her mum’s main feeling was one of relief that it was all over. She remembers being frightened, particularly at night-time, due to the bombings. She had been evacuated for two years, from the ages of 10 to 12 and being an only child, she feels this had a huge impact on her.  She has never completely got over the war years, because she was parted from her parents during that time.

She said that the street parties didn’t happen in her community for a few weeks, because they had to arranged and planned, but they were really good fun.

Will VE day cause you to reflect on the current situation of lockdown?

Co-founder Angela’s thoughts – May 8 will also mark the first birthday of Angela’s grandson – so a big planned party for family and friends cannot happen, which is very sad. She and her husband also have another new baby grandson, who has just arrived at the start of May during lockdown and sadly, they aren’t able to see him and hold him yet.

Angela thinks there will be many people suffering with their mental health for some time to come as a result of Covid 19 and certainly those school age and upwards will never forget this period – just as her mother has never forgotten being evacuated and parted from her parents more than 75 years ago.

She hopes that the world becomes a more tolerant, kinder place as a result of this period and everyone, both young and old is more appreciative of the simple things in life.

Accountant Edd’s thoughts – Edd has been reflecting on WW11 in general, in that he feels this must be the first time the public has had to suffer in any large scale way since then.

Accountant Angela R – often reflects on the current situation and times past. She has spoken to her children about ‘war time’ and how life was for her grandparents.  They have spoken often in the context of Colonel Tom Moore in the past few weeks too.

Office manager Julia – Julia and her family have been reflecting on the past more and more recently, appreciating all of their luxuries and blessings, and staying positive.

Resources:

To help you discuss this event, perhaps with your children, the British Legion and Bletchley Park websites have a range of activities that you can do to celebrate this year, at home.