First News


TODAY (Friday 8 May) marks 75 years since VE Day, as Britain remembers the end of World War Two in Europe.

- by editor in chief Nicky Cox

Plans for street parties, parades and concerts have been put on hold because of the coronaviru­s, but don’t worry, as it’s still possible to celebrate in lockdown.

What is VE Day?

VE Day – Victory in Europe Day – on 8 May 1945 was the day the Allied forces announced the surrender of Germany, which ended the Second World War in Europe. The big four Allied powers were Britain, the USA, France and the Soviet Union (Russia).

Celebratio­ns began straight away throughout Britain, with more than one million people partying in the streets. King George VI appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony with Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Princess Elizabeth (now our Queen), her mum Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret joined them.

VE Day is recognised every year with street parties and community gatherings, and commemorat­es the millions of civilians and millions in the armed forces who lost their lives in battle.

In 2015, you might remember the 70th anniversar­y of VE Day was marked with three days of celebratio­ns. The Queen joined 1,000 veterans and their families in a service of thanksgivi­ng at Westminste­r Abbey.

Lockdown means things are different today. The Queen will deliver a special television message from Windsor Castle at 9pm – at the moment that her father, King George VI, gave a radio address back in 1945.

Although social distancing means gatherings and parties have been cancelled, there are still other ways to mark the day during lockdown.

A two-minute silence is taking place at 11am. Then, at 3pm, there is The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2, with people across the country standing up and raising a glass of their favourite drink while saying the following toast: “To those who gave so much, we thank you.” The Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will perform a flypast over Buckingham Palace.

Many people are decorating their homes in red, white and blue, and holding ‘stay-at-home street parties’. Neighbours are hanging bunting over their homes, having picnics in their back or front gardens, while rememberin­g social distancing and keeping at least 2m apart from others.

Maybe colour in the poster in the centre of this week’s First News and put it in your window. The Royal British Legion has also launched the Tommy in the Window campaign, which celebrates national heroes. They’re asking us to place a special image of a Second World War soldier, Tommy, in our windows.

The official VE Day 75 Government website includes party planning tips, plus food tips to help you celebrate at home. There are more posters that can be printed out and displayed at home.

Hundreds have also signed up to take part in a virtual VE Day “parade” with standard bearers across the world filmed lowering their flags.

 ??  ?? The Red Arrows will fly over London again today
The Red Arrows will fly over London again today

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