THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
This Friday, May 8, marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when the Second World War ended in Europe. In the UK, it's also a Bank Holiday, replacing the traditional early May Bank Holiday. Many of the big events and ceremonies to commemorate the occasion have had to be postponed or canceled due to the current Coronavirus lockdown, but there are plenty of ways to use this week to pay tribute to the anniversary from your own home!
Although the day will be one of celebration, it'll also be one of remembrance, and despite the lockdown, there are a number of plans to bring the country together to pay tribute to all those who fought for liberty and freedom.
A Two Minute Silence will take place at 11am on May 8th. 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."
A Singalong to the Vera Lynn WW2 classic, We'll Meet Again, is planned for 9pm. Organized by the Royal British Legion, and part of a BBC One special that will be broadcast on the evening of May 8th, you can find details on the singalong at www.britishlegion.org.uk/stories/ve-day-singalong.
Online Services will be live streamed via the web during the day.
A Message from the Queen will be broadcast on BBC One at 9pm, marking the exact moment, 75 years ago, that her father, King George VI, gave a radio address signalling the end of the Second World War.
A Big Picnic for Hope is being organized by a collaboration of UK Cathedrals. Under normal circumstances, commemorations would have taken place across the country at Cathedrals and Churches, but with the lockdown, a number of Britain's Cathedrals have come together to encourage members of the public to be part of a virtual get together to remember. Echoing the many street parties and picnics that took place to mark VE Day in 1945, the Big Picnic is encouraging households to stay at home, get some good grub on, and to share photographs via social media using the hashtags #Bigpicnicforhope and #feed5000 - the latter hashtag referring to a charitable project to raise £5000 for the Trussell Trust, who support a UK nationwide network of food banks and provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty. bigpicnicforhope.com/
One way to join in the celebrations is to print a VE Day poster to color in and place in your window. The US Embassy in London have released two posters, and are encouraging you to color them in, place them in your windows, take a photograph and share the images on Social Media using the hashtag #CelebrateThem. You can get your copies of the US Embassy posters by going to uk.usembassy.gov/75th-anniversary-of-ve-day-coloring-posters-celebratethem/.
The UK Government has also developed some coloring in posters to download, along with printable bunting, and VE Day 75 posters which you can print off and use to personalize with messages. For more information, go to ve-vjday75.gov.uk/toolkit/.
The BBC has also released bunting templates which you can personalize and share - www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4TrqYDyf4PMdLypxzyTwGDg/great-british-bunting
There are lots of educational resources for the Second World War, but if you're at home with the kids and in need of some timely lesson plans, this week there are some great kits for learning about VE Day, the Second World War and its historical importance. The Royal British Legion have made available a variety of educational resources specially designed for home learning: www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/teaching-remembrance.
Between today (May 4) and May 10th, the genealogy company Ancestry.co.uk is offering free access to all of its UK records to mark VE Day week. For the many Americans who have British families, some of which were forged during the Second World War, this is a great time to delve into your family tree. www.ancestry.co.uk/.
Absolute Radio, a UK broadcaster which usually hosts decade-specific music via its stations including Absolute 80s and Absolute 90s, are launching the pop up Absolute 40s station, featuring music from the 1940s alongside special guests and surprise performances, and stories from the Second World War. For 24 hours, Absolute Radio 40s will broadcast on 1215AM across the UK, on DAB+ in London and online at www.absoluteradio.co.uk
The National Museum of the Royal Navy, the National Army Museum and the Royal Air Force Museum are teaming up to present a free VE Day 75 Festival which you can tune in to from home. Between May 7 and May 10, the 3 day programme includes debates, historical talks, re-enactors sharing WW2 stories and even a 1940s Swing Dancing class and singalong. http://www.nam.ac.uk/series/ve-day-75Are you hosting an event, commemoration or project that you'd like us to include in this article? Send details to firstname.lastname@example.org!