Today, Friday 8 May 2020 marks 75 years since Victory in Europe Day, more commonly known as VE Day, which celebrates the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces.
What is VE Day?
The announcement that the war had ended in Europe was broadcast to the British people over the radio late in the day on 7 May 1945. The BBC interrupted its scheduled programming with a news flash announcing that Victory in Europe Day would be a national holiday, to take place the following day (8 May). The 8 May 1945 saw celebrations all across the UK including a speech from the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, as well as the British Royal Family waving to cheering crowds from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, London.
You can read more about the history of VE Day 1945 on the Imperial War Museum’s website.
Get involved | Celebrating in Buckinghamshire
VE Day celebrations bring communities across the country together in peace and common friendship, and we hope that this year – the 75th anniversary of VE Day – will be no different. While the usual celebrations of street parties and gatherings at war memorials have had to be postponed or cancelled, there’s still a lot of goodwill to mark the day with celebration and reflection here in Buckinghamshire.
We’ve been working with local partners and organisations to bring our commemorations online, and will be sharing stories, photos and videos on social media throughout the whole weekend – some featuring a few special guests!
Share your stories
If you, or a member of your family, have a treasured memory, intriguing tale or inspiring story from the first VE Day celebrations in1945, then we’d love to hear from you! Similarly, please tell us how you and your family are celebrating VE Day 75 over the bank holiday weekend. You can share photos with us by emailing or tagging us in your social media posts @BucksCouncil on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
How to celebrate – and decorate – at home
- Have a socially distanced, quintessentially British, garden picnic with those you live with. Make sure to include all the family favourites such as cucumber sandwiches and scones. (You could even have the age old debate on how to pronounce “scone”.)
- Take a look at English Heritage’s Party Pack which has lots of stay-at-home friendly activities including learning the lyrics of popular 1940s songs.
- Be inspired by the government’s official ‘Plan your Stay At Home VE Day Party’ webage. Check out the fantastic activities, downloadable resources, and 1940s inspired recipes available. They’ve even pulled together a Spotify playlist because every party needs some tunes!
- A celebration isn’t a celebration without cake, so why not try and recreate some popular 1940s recipes? Or keep things simple and decorate cupcakes with red, white and blue icing.
- Take part in celebrations safely from home by joining your BBC Local Radio station initiative in making your own VE Day Great British Bunting. Download everything you need at bbc.co.uk/makeadifference
- Or how about combining this week’s history lessons with some fun arts and crafts? Whatever your age or artistic ability, download some #VEDay75 colouring-in sheets and posters and get creative. It could be using pen, crayon, pencil or paint or you could even import the pictures into a painting app and colouring it in using a phone, tablet device or computer.
- Join in The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WWII from the comfort of your home at 3pm on Friday 8 May. Raise a glass of a refreshment of your choice and pay tribute to the millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today. The words to the toast are as follows: “To those who gave so much. We thank you.”
Follow us on social media
Buckinghamshire Council and Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies will be posting about lots of local celebrations on Facebook and Twitter so be sure to take a look throughout the day! From sharing your own artistic creations, to videos of local traditional VE Day performances, don’t miss out on seeing how your local community has come together to celebrate VEDay75.
Follow @BucksCouncil and @CenBucksStudies