How to celebrate VE-Day 75 and not break lockdown rules

We are all being encouraged to get the flags out in honour of the heroes of WW2.We are all being encouraged to get the flags out in honour of the heroes of WW2.
We are all being encouraged to get the flags out in honour of the heroes of WW2. | jpimedia
Armed forces veterans should have been marching proudly through towns and cities on Friday to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe.

We should all have been having street parties with the neighbours to toast the heroes of the Second World War.

But, while the coronavirus lockdown has scuppered all public gatherings on VE-Day, the country is being encouraged to rekindle the true wartime spirit to make sure the event is still remembered, albeit in homemade fashion.

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VE-Day 75 will be commemorated by millions across the nation in stay-at-home street parties instead of the real thing.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill gives his famous victory salute on VE-Day in 1945.Prime Minister Winston Churchill gives his famous victory salute on VE-Day in 1945.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill gives his famous victory salute on VE-Day in 1945. | jpimedia

The Royal British Legion is encouraging us all to take part - even decorate our homes with bunting, flags and fairy lights - despite social distancing rules making it a virtual celebration rather than a traditional one.

The highlights will be:

* A two-minute silence at 11am.

* The "Nation's Toast to the Heroes of WW" at 3pm.

* Her Majesty the Queen will address the nation at 9pm.

* And then Dame Vera Lynn will lead the singing of "We'll Meet Again."

The Royal British Legion’s assistant director of commemorative events, Bob Gamble OBE, said: “As we face some of the most challenging times since the Second World War, now more than ever it is important to unite in recognition of people’s service to the nation, just as communities did 75 years ago.

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“There are many parallels between the struggles of the Second World War and what we are going through today. As we mark 75 years since Victory in Europe, we look to our Second World War generation to learn from their experiences and the Legion continues our critical work to protect them from the threat we currently face.”

The traditional May Day Bank Holiday has been switched from Monday to Friday to coincide with VE-Day. It is only the second time in history it has been moved - the first was for the 50th anniversary of VE-Day.

Before Covid-19 struck there were plans across the nation for three days of celebrations. Many of those events have now been postponed until VJ Day (Victory over Japan Day) on Saturday August 15 when it is hoped restrictions will have been lifted sufficiently to allow them to go ahead.

This Friday millions will stand in silence for two minutes at exactly 11am in a national moment of remembrance to to honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation.

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The Legion's Bob Campbell explained: "There is no right or wrong way to take part in the silence at 11am. Some people may wish to stand at their windows or step outside their front door.

"But we hope that individuals and families across the UK will embrace the opportunity to share in a national moment of reflection."

The BBC will be running programmes throughout the day to commemorate the events of 1939-1945.

The Legion too will have its own VE-Day 75 livestream running on its website from 11.15am sharing stories and memories from those who served and lived through the Second World War.

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At 2.45pm the BBC will broadcast Winston Churchill's historic address to the country announcing Germany's surrender and the end of the war in Europe.

At 2.55pm, buglers, trumpeters and cornet players will sound the Last Post from their gardens.

At 3pm Dame Joan Collins will invite people to raise a glass in the "Nation's Toast to the Heroes of WW2." And following that more than 1,000 pipers across 27 countries will play Battle's O'er, a traditional end-of-war lament.

Later Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a speech about the importance of VE Day. There will also be a special reflection and moment of prayer led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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The Queen's speech will be broadcast on TV and radio at 9pm - the exact time on May 8, 1945 that her father King George VI made his radio address to the nation to announce the end of the war and what he called "nearly six years of suffering and peril."

Prince Charles will also read a excerpt from his grandfather's diary from that day.

And then people will be invited to open their doors and sing along with Dame Vera Lynn in the wartime classic "We'll Meet Again."