Next year marks the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (also referred to as VE Day) and to commemorate May bank holiday has been moved to coincide with this significant date.
Typically held on the first Monday in May, next year May Day will be moved to Friday 8th May 2020 to form part of a long weekend of events to reflect, remember and honour those who fought for our freedom.
What is VE Day?
After almost 6 years of fighting, millions of lives lost, families, cities and homes devastated, Victory in Europe was declared on 8th May 1945.
UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed the nation in a radio broadcast, announcing the end of the war in Europe, as fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end. Across Britain, the occasion was marked with singing, dancing, street parties and celebrations.
Whilst the war against Japan would continue until August that year, the Second World War was coming to an end.
Remembering VE Day
To mark this significant date which changed the course of history, commemorative events will take place to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives during the Second World War. We will be given the opportunity to reflect upon the role of Armed Force personnel who contributed to defending the Home Front, in addition to recognising those who have served and continue to serve in the UK Armed Forces.
Business Secretary Greg Clark announced:
“It will ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to remember and honour our heroes of the Second World War and reflect on the sacrifices of a generation.”
Sir Andrew Gregory, chief executive of the Armed Forces charity SSAFA, added:
“It is our duty to keep the events of the past alive in collective memory, including future generations – this is how we ensure that such a conflict never happens again.”
The holiday will form part of a 3-day weekend of commemorative events, which will include the Nation’s Toast “where over 20,000 pubs will encourage patrons to raise a glass to the Heroes of World War II”, bagpipes playing across the 4 highest peaks in the UK and bells ringing in churches and cathedrals across the country. Discover more about events taking place on the gov.uk website.
How will this affect schools and pupils?
The celebrations and commemorative events surrounding the VE Day anniversary will give school pupils the chance to get involved in the occasion; supporting and encouraging classroom learning about the events that marked the Second World War coming to an end and its impacts.
The Association of School and College Leaders has supported the plan, saying
“it would provide a good opportunity to engage young people in learning and activities about this important historical event.”
If you’d like to find out more about Victory in Europe Day head to the the IWM website.