75th Anniversary of VE Day

Column in the Barry & District News by Alun Cairns MP:

Tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of VE Day, remembering Victory in Europe for the Allied Forces over the Nazi regime and bringing an end to the horrors of World War II.

Unfortunately, the circumstances around this landmark commemoration are not as we expected. We’re fighting a global virus which has devastated families, halted the economy and completely changed our day to day lives.

However, through these tough days that we encounter, parallels can be drawn between the struggles during the period of war over 75 years ago and the disruption of life as we know it today.

There is no doubt that our generation has lessons to learn from the war generation and we can draw inspiration from the spirit that they carried. Then, as now, we can be sure that better days are ahead and that together we will overcome this challenge.

Readers will be aware that the major events that had been planned can no longer go ahead, as we continue to adhere to social distancing measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. This sadly includes Boris Johnson’s extension of all pub licensing hours to 1am – which would have been a welcomed boost for local pubs!

I want to pay tribute to everyone who has been involved in the months of planning to make the 75th Anniversary special, and this includes many volunteers working for armed forces charities like the Royal British Legion. Having worked with the excellent members of our local RBL branches over the years, I recognise the time and commitment that they dedicate.

Please remember, you can still commemorate the day at home. There is a revised programme which will include a two-minutes' silence at 11am and the broadcasting of extracts of Sir Winston Churchill's VE Day speech at 3pm. It’s been wonderful to see people locally are still determined to mark the day and I’ve already seen people decorating their homes with bunting and planned street parties from their own front gardens – at a safe distance!

I hope everyone is able to mark VE Day in their own way, remember the great sacrifices of the war generation and take inspiration from them to carry into the challenges we currently face.