VE Day celebrations

By | Category: Travel news

Seventy-five years ago on a Tuesday, the second world war came to an end in Europe.

The memorial to women who served in WWII

Today would have seen VE Day processions, celebrations of freedom from Nazism and many memories on display from those few who remain from that time.

But today’s holiday to remember the war and the sacrifices that millions gave will be muted due to another war – the war against coronavirus.

Instead of regiments and veterans parading there will be virtual events.

At 11am, the British Legion is encouraging people across all generations and communities to take part in a national moment of Remembrance and pause for a two minute silence to honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation and reflect on the impact Covid-19 has had on so many lives across the world.

At 2.45 the BBC will broadcast Winston Churchill’s speech announcing the end of the war in Europe and at 3pm a number of organisations are asking you to pause from whatever you are doing an join in a national toast.

Here are just a few of the other events

Imperial War Museums (IWM) is encouraging people to listen to a four-minute “soundscape” which incorporates first-hand accounts of the day from the institution’s sound archive. The recording, which will be released on the museum’s website, features an army nurse who served in Egypt, a Jamaican aircraftsman, a concentration camp survivor and wartime prime minister Winston Churchill.

Historic England will ask people to share what they know about its listed buildings and places that “harbour wartime histories, however big or small, to help them build a more vibrant picture of some of the most important sites in England and how they witnessed the war”.

English Heritage had previously planned to support street parties across England with its Dance for VE Day project. It is now calling for people to dance the Lindy Hop, which originated in New York and became a popular wartime craze because of travelling soldiers, in their homes to mark the occasion. For those unfamiliar with the dance, it will teach an online Lindy Hop tutorial at noon today and at 5pm the organisation will lead a mass participation Lindy Hop with a dance troupe and swing band.

Bletchley Park will make two special Youtube broadcasts on the day, including a staged message from Winston Churchill.

The National Army Museum, National Museum of the Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force Museum had planned a three-day online festival from 7-9 May. VE Day 75 will include a debate between historians, a 1940s swing class followed by a sing-along concert, and an immersive walk-through of the world war two submarine, HMS Alliance. Now they will be virtual.

In Scotland there was to have been a procession through Edinburgh and a flypast. No longer possible, at 10.39 precisely, Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland will begin broadcasting a live, virtual service of remembrance on their respective Facebook pages

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