8 May is the official VE Day 75 anniversary celebrations and although public events have been cancelled, it is still a unique opportunity to reflect on the enormous sacrifices, courage and determination of people during World War II.
The Royal British Legion is calling on people across the UK to join in a moment of reflection and remembrance at 11am on Friday 8 May, the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, and pause for a two minute silence.
Later in the day, you can also join with others across the nation to raise a glass to the heroes of World War II. At 3pm on Friday there will be a toast to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today.
With the weekly “clap for our carers” becoming a regular event of national pride in our NHS and our key workers, here is another important moment to join with your neighbours on your doorstep and say thank you.
The Royal British Legion are still encouraging solo pipers and town criers to continue to mark the occasion from a safe and suitable location. In Calderdale, Bankfield Museum is showcasing objects relating to the war all week on their Twitter account and on Friday their website will feature all the photos and information.
Things you can do
Despite the need to maintain social distancing, you can still join with others in a mass celebration – even if you live alone.
Tune into national media – the BBC is broadcasting throughout the day, have a family party or picnic on your lawn or outdoor area or even join your neighbours in a “stay at home” street party.
There are plenty of ideas on the official website:
- Tell the story of VE Day by entering Dan Snow’s VE Day Challenge. Ways to get involved include writing a short story, song or poem, making a short video, designing a newspaper page etc. Entries close on Wednesday 6 May.
- Make your own bunting to display in your windows. Download everything you need from the official VE Day 75 website or from the BBC VE Day web pages.
- Decorate the outside of your home in red, white and blue
- Bake cakes and make party food. Decorate cup cakes with red, white and blue icing or try special commemorative recipes such as Nadiya Hussain’s Preserved Lemon Traybake or Pru Leith’s Muscovado Flapjacks
And on the day:
- Dress up in 1940s vintage clothing
- Play music or sing along to favourites from the wartime era. Vera Lynn’s “We’ll meet again” has never been more appropriate
- Have a picnic in your garden or on your doorstep.
It is important to spread the word and include neighbours who may be too vulnerable to get actively involved. Chat with them safely in advance about your plans. Discuss safely sharing food and decorations, so you can all enjoy the celebrations.
See the Government’s latest advice on social distancing.
What are the media doing?
The BBC will be covering VE Day 75 with dedicated programming across radio, TV and BBC IPlayer.
11am: “The Nation Remembers” – a two minute silence.
2.45pm: BBC One will broadcast Sir Winston Churchill’s famous victory speech in which he addressed the nation to announce the end of the war in Europe, which he made from 10 Downing Street on 8 May 1945.
3pm: There will be a specially created film to celebrate and remember Sir Winston Churchill’s famous radio address that he made to the nation on VE Day. This will be a poignant and emotional piece, reminding both those who were there and subsequent generations of this monumental day in our history. Throughout the event, stirring music from military performers will evoke the wartime spirit and the joy that music could bring even in the darkest of days.
8pm: BBC1 in partnership with the Royal British Legion will host a musical celebration, VE Day 75: The People’s Celebration. The aim is to unite the nation in front of the television to salute our World War II generation.
9pm: A special address from Her Majesty The Queen – the exact time her father spoke to the nation three quarters of a century ago.