Councillor David Griffiths – Armed Forces Champion – Wrexham Council
Seventy five years ago, peace fell across Europe after nearly six years of all-out war.
For most of us, it’s hard to imagine what that felt like.
As well as the injury, death and suffering inflicted on the battlefields, in bombed-out cities, ghettos and concentration camps, there was the emotional, social and economic hardship endured in every community.
People lost loved ones. They lost their health. Jobs and promising careers were extinguished. Many people lost their homes. Food and clothes were limited. It was a ‘new normal.’
So imagine how it felt when – at 2.45pm on May 8 in 1945 – Winston Churchill announced Germany’s surrender.
The nightmare in Europe was finally over, and it must have been an incredible moment of elation and relief.
It must have been a very sad moment too. Because it was clear that so many people had lost their futures…and wouldn’t get to live the lives they should’ve lived.
Although their numbers are fewer these days, there are still people among us who lived through the war.
Veterans who served in the armed forces, people who kept the nation going at home, and those who were children growing up during those years.
We owe these people, and those who are no longer with us, a massive debt of gratitude and respect…bigger than we can ever repay.
And now, more than ever, we can take inspiration from what they did.
Help Wrexham celebrate VE Day
One of the greatest peacetime challenges this country has ever faced – the Covid-19 pandemic – has prevented us from marking the 75th anniversary in the way we hoped.
Street parties and public events across the UK have been cancelled, and here in Wrexham we’ve had to cancel plans to mark the occasion in style…including bringing a Spitfire to Llwyn Isaf.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t pay our respects and show our support for our armed forces…while continuing to stay at home, save lives and protect the NHS.
So please…help Wrexham mark this very important occasion.
Here are some ideas on how to celebrate VE Day from the safety of your own home.
10 ways to celebrate at home…
1. Take part in the two-minute silence (11am)
There will be a nationwide two-minute silence at 11am to remember those who lost their lives or lived through the war.
Many of us at Wrexham Council will be taking part. Please take part if you can.
2. Have a VE Day themed victory party with members of your household
3. Join the Royal British Legion live stream (11.15am)
Grab a cup of tea and join the RBL for an 80-minute stream – sharing stories and memories from those who served and sacrificed during the war, as well as recognising the difficulties people are experiencing today.
4. Learn to Lindy Hop (12pm)
Learn to Lindy Hop with English Heritage’s live dance tutorial. Nancy Hitzig will help you get the hang of this popular wartime craze. Sign up now!
5. Give yourself a 1940s makeover (2pm)
Give yourself a Second World War-inspired makeover with English Heritage’s online tutorial!
6. Tune into Winston Churchill’s speech (3pm)
Listen to Churchill’s original address to the nation, which is being broadcast on the BBC at 3pm on Friday. Raise a glass or a cuppa to mark the occasion!
7. Take a look at the Imperial War Museums (IWM) website
The IWM Victory Hub features fascinating content about the events of the summer of 1945 and beyond – including personal recollections of VE Day from people who were there.
8. Watch historian Dan Snow (4pm)
Watch live on YouTube, as Dan Snow takes us through events as they happened in 1945.
9. Tune in for the Queen’s televised message (9pm).
Her Majesty the Queen will address the nation at 9pm – the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945.
10. Take part in the national sing-along of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ (9.10pm)
Join your neighbours from your doorstep to take part in the national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again.’
You can find the lyrics on the BBC website.
Stay at home
I hope some of these ideas inspire you to help Wrexham and the rest of the UK celebrate this Friday.
Think about those who gave their lives, learn from those who lived through it, and have fun.
And please remember…
Stay at home. Save lives. Protect the NHS.
LATEST INFO ON COVID-19