VE Day (Victory in Europe) – was celebrated 75 years ago this month, on 8th May 1945, marking the end of World War II in Europe. It was marked with a public holiday.
The previous day the formal act of military surrender had been signed by Germany, and celebrations broke out when the news was released. Big crowds gathered in London, impromptu parties were held throughout the country, and people danced and sang in the streets. King George VI and his family appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, and Churchill made a speech to huge applause. The two princesses Elizabeth and Margaret mingled with the crowds outside.
Many went into churches to give thanks – and to pray for those still involved in the war in the Far East, because the real end of the war, Victory over Japan, would not happen until 15th August. At St Paul’s Cathedral there were ten consecutive services giving thanks for peace, each attended by thousands of people.
The celebrations masked the fact that so many had lost family and friends, as well as possessions and homes. But for the moment normal social conventions broke down, strangers embraced, and love was in the air.
Two Minute Silence
At 11am, the Royal British Legion are encouraging people across all generations and communities to take part in a national moment of Remembrance and pause for a Two Minute Silence to honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation and reflect on the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on so many lives across the world.
The Royal British Legion are also providing a VE Day 75 livestream at 11.15am
Children and Families Resources
A VE Day learning pack for children aged 7-14 years.
Here are some useful links and resources for the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when we mark 75 years since the end of World War 2.
A prayer for VE Day
From the Act of Commitment for Peace
Lord God our Father,
we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind, in the cause of peace,
for the relief of want and suffering,
and for the praise of your name.
Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom;
give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful now and always.