Friday 8 May 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (commonly known as VE Day).
This year, the Government has moved the May bank holiday to VE Day to allow the nation to remember the sacrifice so many made in the fight against fascism.
We had been hoping for communities to run a whole host of activities. However, in line with the latest expert medical and scientific advice from Public Health England and guidance on mass gatherings, plans to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe public events cannot take place, including the planned national celebrations (Visit GOV.UK to find out more).
There are still lots of ways you get involved and show your support in marking the day.
ACTS OF REMEMBRANCE
Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation at 9pm on BBC One, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945.
The 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.
The official commemorations will begin at 11am with a national moment of remembrance and a two minute silence.
The ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ will take place at 3pm on the 8th May with people invited, from the safety of their own home, to stand up and raise a glass of refreshment of their choice and undertake the following ‘toast’ – “To those who gave so much, we thank you.”
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has produced a template pack so that the public can hold a 1940s style afternoon tea party at home complete with homemade VE Day bunting, original recipes, games, and educational and creative activities for children.
You can also use English Heritage’s pack to help you put together your own celebrations to mark the #VEDay75 from home.
Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow will host history lessons for children from today. 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 public about the importance of VE Day.
South Somerset District Council has also designed a VE Day puzzle for you to try which can be found here – https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/media/3149/ve-day-puzzle.pdf
We will be publishing even more VE Day-themed activities on our special page for children throughout the week – visit https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/life-events/coronavirus-support/family-activities/
Following Government guidance, it will not be possible to attend a church service to commemorate those who fought in WW2. However, the Archbishop of Canterbury will record a special reflection and moment of prayer for VE Day.
Friday 8 May will see no waste collections so those recycling and rubbish pick-ups will be on Saturday 9 May from 7am.
Collection crews are asking all residents to ensure their containers are out on time, with contents sorted, plastic bottles squashed, cardboard flattened, and – if safe – cans crushed.
The Somerset Waste Partnership has also issued activities for VE Day which can be found here – https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/one-day-later-collections-after-ve-day/
WHAT IS VE DAY?
On Friday 8 May, it will be 75 years since VE (Victory in Europe) Day when the Second World War came to an end in Europe. The long anticipated news resulted in spontaneous celebrations breaking out across the nation. A national holiday was declared and people from all walks of life came together to mark the moment.
The war in the East did not end until 15 August 1945, when Japan surrendered. The day was celebrated across the world as ‘Victory over Japan’ (VJ Day).
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden 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.
“In these difficult times, acts of remembrance are even more poignant and I am sure that millions will want to join me to remember and give thanks to those who gave so much to secure peace, freedom and prosperity in Europe.”