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We must still pay our respects on VE Day




Column by Grantham Journal news editor Graham Newton

Times are challenging and, to say the least, rather strange at the moment.

But while many of us are largely confined to our homes and community events have been cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus, we can still play a part on those occasions when it is important we remember those who have made sacrifices, often the ultimate sacrifice, so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have.

Every Thursday, our community spirit shines through when people stand outside their homes and clap for the NHS frontline staff and carers who are doing a fabulous job.

VE Day 1945. The town gathered on St Peter's Hill Green to celebrate the end of the Second World War.
This picture was taken by photographer Walter Lee from his studio next door to the State cinema. (34292426)
VE Day 1945. The town gathered on St Peter's Hill Green to celebrate the end of the Second World War. This picture was taken by photographer Walter Lee from his studio next door to the State cinema. (34292426)

And I am sure that this Friday (May 8) that spirit will shine through again when we mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. While we will not be marking the day by raising a glass in our local pub, taking part in a street party, or enjoying a gathering in our village halls or local meeting places, we can and should still enter into the spirit of the occasion because it is important that we never forget the part played by those who fought in and lived through the Second World War.

VE Day marks the day on May 8, 1945, when war in Europe ended as the Allies accepted the surrender of the Nazis. As the day is a very special anniversary the government moved the May Day Bank Holiday back several days for the occasion.

There were plans for a display by the Red Arrows and a Battle of Britain memorial flight above Buckingham Palace. A procession was set to take place down The Mall, and Winston Churchill’s iconic speech announcing the end of the war was set to be broadcast in public spaces at 3pm.

Despite the damper put on our planned celebrations, I have no doubt that households all over Grantham and surrounding villages will mark the occasion in appropriate and enterprising ways despite the lockdown. I am sure the flags will still be flying and the bunting will still decorate homes and buildings.

But the most important thing is for every one of us to simply spare a thought for those who gave their lives so that we could celebrate a victory which has given us 75 years, and hopefully many more years, of freedom.

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