The countdown has begun to the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe in 2020 with plans for a national celebration and commemoration supported by the Society of Editors.
The guns fell silent on May 8 1945, and next year that date will mark a number of events throughout the length and breadth of the nation, including a call to take part in the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW II’
The Society of Editors is urging media in the UK to get behind the planned events and, especially at a regional and local level, engage with readers and audiences to remember the sacrifices and courage of what has been called by some Britain’s Greatest generation.
The events will also support SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, which also supports the Merchant Navy.
Details of events already planned can be found by visiting www.veday75.org
Organiser Bruno Peak said: “ I am sure you will agree that we cannot let this day pass without reflecting on the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination of people from all walks of life who saw us through this dark period. Our celebration, VE Day 75, will cover the weekend of 8th – 10th May 2020, and will be an international celebration of peace – a time to remember, reflect and pay tribute to the millions who played such a vital part in achieving it.”
Ian Murray, executive director at the Society of Editors commented that as the media, particularly local newspapers, played such an important role in keeping the British people informed and morale high during the dark days of the war, it was fitting it should play a role now in remembering the end of hostilities.
“Although it is a year off, plans are well advanced to ensure the nation marks this important anniversary – perhaps the last significant opportunity to honour those of the generation that fought, worked and struggled to keep us free. The Society is encouraging publishers and broadcasters to start considering their own plans now to play their role in marking this milestone in our history.”
The planned activities over the weekend of May 8 2020 include:
- The Playing of Battle’s O’er & VE 75 Years
- The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2
- The Cry for Peace, around the World
- Churches & cathedrals Ringing out for Peace
- Street parties and parties in pubs, clubs, Hotels, on town and village greens and in halls etc
- Services of commemoration and celebration in churches, including the reading of the Tribute to the Millions and the playing of the Last Post
3pm is the time Winston Churchill officially announced the end of WW2 from the Cabinet Office at 10 Downing Street, London.
Pipers from around the world will open VE Day 75 by playing Battle’s O’er and VE 75 Years at 3pm local time in the country they are in, paying tribute to the millions who gave so much to earn our freedom today. Battle’s O’er is the traditional tune played by pipers at the end of a battle, and VE 75 Years has been specially written for this occasion by Pipe Major Roger Bayes of the City of Norwich Pipe Band.
Battle’s O’er will be played by pipers from the top of the four highest Peaks in the UK – Ben Nevis, Scotland; Scafell Pike, England; Mount Snowdon, Wales, and Slieve Donnard, Northern Ireland – and also at the five furthest points in the UK. This has never been undertaken before.
3pm – The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2
Town and Parish Councils are being encouraged to play a leading role in the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW 2’, especially as their communities are the ‘heart of the nation’ so they are being asked to choose an individual from their community to ‘lead’ them in undertaking the ‘Toast’ at 3pm on Friday 8th May 2020, using the words that can be downloaded from the VE Day 75 website
The thousands of pubs throughout the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man will also be encouraging customers to raise a glass at 3pm and take part in The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2.
6.55pm – A Cry for Peace Around the World
Town Criers around the world will be undertaking A Cry for Peace Around the World, kindly written for this occasion by Crier Peter Taunton. The ‘Cry’, which can be downloaded from the website, will be performed at 7pm local time in locations around the world, starting in New Zealand.
7pm – Ringing out for Peace
Bells in churches and cathedrals will ring out at 7pm in a collective celebration of VE Day 75. The sound of church bells is deeply rooted in British culture. They provide the grand soundtrack to our historic moments, calling us to wake, to pray, to work, to arms, to feast, to celebrate and, in times of crisis, to come together.
Parties and celebrations will take place in pubs, clubs and hotels, on town and village greens and in our streets, bringing the communities of the nation together in common friendship. Those town and cities twinned with others around the world will be encouraged invite them to join in this joyous occasion.
SATURDAY 9TH MAY 2020
Parties and celebrations continue.
SUNDAY 10TH MAY 2020
10.30am – Church Services of Celebration and Commemoration
Services will take place in cathedrals and churches throughout the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to celebrate the peace we share today and remember those who lost their lives or returned home dreadfully wounded.
Tribute to the Millions & the Last Post
Those planning services will be encouraged to ask a representative from their local community to read out the Tribute to the Millions, which can be downloaded at www.veday75.org, and involve a local bugler or trumpeter to play the Last Post and Reveille.