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CELEBRATE THE 70th ANNIVERSARY OF VE DAY

BRITAIN IS PARTYING ON MAY 8th

For so many of our generation, the 2nd World War was very much recent history. Our parents, relations, teachers, friends, so many people we met had lived through the six years of fear, suffering and endurance and it is easy to appreciate their excitement and joy when finally it was announced that the war was over.

Adolf Hitler killed himself on 30th April 1945, and on the 7th May 1945, in Reims, France, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command signed the unconditional surrender.

It was certainly time to celebrate and across the nation people turned on the wireless to find out what was happening. This is an era when many people did not have telephones. Instead, out they came into the streets to meet neighbours and celebrate together. Almost instantly bunting and flags started to appear.

The following day was declared VE day, Victory in Europe – sadly the war in the far east was to continue until August 15th 1945 when the Japanese surrendered; they actually formally surrendered on the 2nd September on the Battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Toyko Bay, marking the final end to the war.

But this didn’t stop the British from celebrating the end of the war in Europe. At 3pm on May 8th May Churchill made a radio broadcast and in Trafalgar Square thousands had gathered to hear his voice over loudspeakers. King George Vi and the Queen appeared eight times on the balcony and Buckingham Palace and across the UK celebrations continued long into the night.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of VE Day and again the occasion will be commemorated with events across the UK.

At 3pm on Friday 8th there will be a two minute silence at the London Cenotaph to mark the moment Churchill broadcast his speech to the nation. At 9.30pm in the evening bonfires and beacons will be lit from Newcastle in the north of England right down to Cornwall in the south west as “flames of peace”. At each beacon a similar ceremony will be observed, with cadets playing a fanfare and a tribute.

Over the following weekend May 9th and 10th there are a number of additional official events; including the Queen leading the nation in a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey on the Sunday followed by a parade of bands, veterans and current servicemen and women who will make their way from the Abbey along Whitehall to a reception in St James’s Park. Over 2000 veterans are expected to attend this event which is being hosted by the Royal British Legion.

In the afternoon in London there will be a fly-past including the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and other events include a parade and a star studded 1940s style concert.

But right across the UK communities will also be celebrating with street parties, parades, concerts and a range of other events.

The UK Government has provided an events map for the VE Day celebrations

It is not too late to organise your local event, or put up bunting. From flags to hats to Union flat decorated plates, everything is available on
www.party-heaven.co.uk

Let us know your thoughts at comments@laterlife.com

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