Somerset residents are being encouraged to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day and remember all those who helped to secure peace in Europe.
Friday 8 May marks the milestone anniversary of the day the guns fell silent in Europe ending six years of conflict.
Sadly, national and local plans to mark the milestone anniversary due to take place on the weekend of 8-10 May have had to be postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But everyone can take time to remember, while still observing social distancing, by decorating their homes in red, white and blue on 8 May.
Somerset County Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Rod Williams said: “The 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe is a cause for celebration, but it is also a cause for sombre reflection and remembrance. For those whose parents or grandparents fought and lost comrades, it is also a cause for sadness.
“The Second World War was a terrible period for the generation that lived through it. The outbreak of the war only 21 years after ‘The War to end Wars’ dashed hopes for peace.
“Victory in Europe led to possibly the greatest achievement of the post-war world – the rehabilitation of Germany and a NATO alliance that has maintained peace for 75 years.
“But it has been a peace in which there have been only two years (1968 and 2016) when a member of the British Armed Forces has not been killed on operations. We should celebrate Victory in Europe and remember ‘the Greatest Generation’ – the one that lived through, fought and won the Second World War.’”
There are lots of ways that you can get involved and show your support in marking the day on social media and via your digital channels. The Royal British Legion has a range of ideas: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/remembrance-events/ve-day-75
The Government has published a toolkit of resources, to include bunting and posters that you can print and display at home in your windows. English Heritage has a pack to help you put together your own celebrations to mark the anniversary from home. Share your Second World War stories, families’ histories and messages of remembrance on social media, using #VEDay75 to join the conversation. For school children, historian and presenter Dan Snow has set you a creative challenge to research what VE Day is all about.
The BBC has launched a VE Day scheme under its Make a Difference initiative, encouraging people to make their own Great British bunting to display at their home – details are available here https://bbc.in/3cTfBev
People are also encouraged to join a national toast at 3pm on 8 May, raising a glass, mug or tankard of a refreshment and declaring: ““To those who gave so much, we thank you.”
Details on the Somerset Armed Forces Covenant Partnership can be found here: www.somerset.gov.uk/forcescovenant