Today marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe day and the final collapse of the Nazi regime across the war-torn continent. In the preceding weeks and months, Allied forces had pressed on into Germany itself, facing desperate German resistance until Berlin was taken and Hitler took his own life. With that, resistance ceased and an armistice was negotiated and signed.
This was not the end of the wider war, as Japan was still to be defeated, but for many in the UK and on the continent, it meant celebration before the rebuilding of a shattered world could be contemplated.
Across Europe the 75th anniversary celebrations will be muted as the coronavirus crisis continues, but there will still be opportunities to commemorate the brave men and women who went through so much.
Listen out, around 3pm on 8 May, for the sounds of solo buglers playing the ‘Last Post’ from the safety of their homes, along with pipers undertaking ‘Battle’s O’er’ and the specially composed ‘VE 75 years’ at 3pm local time in whatever country they are in, as well as town criers giving the ‘Cry for Peace Around the World’ at 6.55pm.
Please also stand and raise a glass in the Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of World War II at 3pm on 8 May, with the words ‘To those who gave so much, we thank you,’ in tribute to the sacrifices made by the many millions at home and abroad in the fight to liberate occupied countries from fascism and defeat one of the most monstrous regimes in history.