On May 8th 1945, millions of people around the world rejoiced in the news that Germany had surrendered after nearly six years of war, a day known as Victory in Europe Day. This year marks the 75th anniversary since the surrender was signed and the Second World War ended. To celebrate peace and remember the many heroes the government has announced a National Bank Holiday on Friday 8th May.
The Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a radio announcement to announce the end of the war to the nation at 3pm. Therefore on the VE Day anniversary this year, the country will be raising a toast together at 3pm in commemoration.
Within minutes of Churchill’s announcement in 1945, tens of thousands of people gathered to the streets of London to celebrate. People crowded to rejoice together in Parliament Square, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus.
Street parties were organised across the country, neighbours pooled food (it was still rationed), and the Royal Family came onto the balcony with Churchill, where a crowd of 20,000 waiting people sang ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’.
In the evening Buckingham Palace was lit up by floodlights for the first time since 1939 and two searchlights made a ginormous ‘V’ for victory above St. Paul’s Cathedral. This was a highly symbolic act for a city that had spent many years in blackout.
So wherever you may be on Friday 8th May, for most of us that will be in our homes, join us in raising a toast to the many, many heroes of World War II.