VE Day 2020: Britons celebrate 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day

VE Day 2020: Britons celebrate 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day

The nation came together, even when forced apart by lockdown, to remember the end of war in Europe and mark 75 years since VE Day.

The Queen said the message of VE Day is “never give up, never despair”, remembering the sacrifices of the Second World War generation in a poignant speech. 

She said their lasting legacy “is that countries who were once sworn enemies are now friends, working side by side for the peace, health and prosperity of us all”.

Despite swathes of events and swarming parades being cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown, the UK found ways to come together to pay tribute to those who served in the era-defining global conflict.

The day began with a national two minute silence at 11am, which gave Britons the opportunity to pause and reflect, remembering the lives lost and sacrifices made in wartime.

Then the RAF’s Red Arrows also roared over parts of the UK, in a special flypast to mark the anniversary.

Following the Queen’s speech, people were invited to open their doors and windows and take part in singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”, which has once again become a symbol of hope for Britons during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you and goodnight 

Despite swathes of events and swarming parades being cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown, the UK still found ways to come together for the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Before we sign off for the night, here is a round-up of how people across the nation honoured those who served in the Second World War.

Red Arrows take part in the flypast over Downing Street for Victory Day 75th Anniversary celebrations
Red Arrows take part in the flypast over Downing Street for Victory Day 75th Anniversary celebrations CREDIT: JEFF GILBERT 
The residents of Cambrian Road in Chester dress up in 1945 clothing and have a social distancing tea party
The residents of Cambrian Road in Chester dress up in 1945 clothing and have a social distancing tea party CREDIT: PA
Royal Artillery Veteran Lou Myers, 92, during the two minutes silence at The Cenotaph
Royal Artillery Veteran Lou Myers, 92, during the two minutes silence at The Cenotaph CREDIT: EDDIE MULHOLLAND 
Queen Elizabeth II speaks to the nation during a televised address
Queen Elizabeth II speaks to the nation during a televised address
Residents in Nettlecombe Avenue, Southsea adapted their VE Day celebrations in light of the Covid pandemic
Residents in Nettlecombe Avenue, Southsea adapted their VE Day celebrations in light of the Covid pandemic CREDIT: HEATHCLIFF O’MALLEY 
Piper Louise Marshall plays at dawn along Edinburgh's Portobello Beach overlooking the Firth of Forth
Piper Louise Marshall plays at dawn along Edinburgh’s Portobello Beach overlooking the Firth of Forth CREDIT: PA

‘Never give up, never despair’

The Queen reminded Britain to “never give up, never despair” in a moving message to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, speaking with pride to a nation she said Second World War heroes would still “recognise and admire”.

The monarch, who delivered a special address at 9pm – just as her father had done at the end of fighting in Europe – said she “vividly” remembered the “jubilant scenes” that had marked triumph after the bleak uncertainty of war.

As the nation commemorated the anniversary in lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis, she paid tribute to the strength, courage and sacrifice of so many who died for the freedom of others, saying: “We should and will remember them.”

Queen’s message resonates during lockdown

The Queen’s message to the nation as part of the VE Day anniversary celebrations will resonate with the public amid the coronavirus pandemic, a royal expert has said.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said of the address: “This is as relevant today as it is for the occasion it’s commemorating 75 years ago.”

He added: “The Queen is the only surviving head of state to have served during the Second World War and this is an appropriate reaction to something that is so personal to her.”

The Queen tells of how the message on VE Day in 1945 was: “Never give up, never despair.”

“It very much resonates with the situation we find ourselves in right now,” Mr Little said. “There are some remarkable similarities, where the Queen says ‘Never give up, never despair’.

“That was the message of VE Day but really that message can be applied to the present day. So clearly that must be what she had in mind when this was being drafted.”

We’ll Meet Again

 Following the Queen’s address, people were invited to stand on their doorsteps and sing Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’. 

The song has once again become a symbol of hope for Britons during the coronavirus pandemic.

So tonight @OliverMcGrath decided to play We’ll Meet Again to our street after the queens speech and so many people came out into the street for a dance and a sing ♥️#VEDay #streetparty #wellmeetagain

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