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75th anniversary of end of WWII in Europe

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Several nations will today mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Commemorations that this year will be held among various coronavirus pandemic restrictions and with the main attention being on the UK.

Victory in Europe Day marks the day in 1945 when then-prime minister Sir Winston Churchill announced that the war in Europe had come to an end, after Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered.

Closed ceremonies are also being held by the leaders of France and Germany, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel.

In the UK, the Royal Family leading tributes as the country remains in lockdown due to the coronavirus.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will lead a two-minute silence at 11:00 BST to honour servicemen and women during World War Two, and the Queen will address the nation later.

Coronavirus in Britain
A hand out photograph made available by n 10 Downing street shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson lighting a candle at the grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey on the eve of 75th Anniversary of VE Day in London, Britain 07 May 2020. EPA-EFE/ANDREW PARSONS / HANDOUT

The British Prime minister thanked the VE Day generation, saying “our gratitude will be eternal”. In a message, Prime Minister Mr Johnson referred to the virus outbreak, saying it “demands the same spirit of national endeavour” as shown during wartime.

“We can’t hold the parades and street celebrations we enjoyed in the past, but all of us who were born since 1945 are acutely conscious that we owe everything we most value to the generation who won the Second World War,” he said.

Mr Johnson – who is due to have a video call with a veteran later – said: “We survived and eventually triumphed thanks to the heroism of countless ordinary people, who may be elderly today, but who once carried the fate of freedom itself on their shoulders.

Events are taking place all day, but public gatherings have been cancelled. This year’s celebration will be limited as the lockdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic means there will be no large scale street parties or parades.

However, the BBC is airing a series of special programmes to mark the milestone occasion, including a re-broadcast of parts of Sir Winston’s speech.

A pre-recorded message from the Queen will be broadcast on BBC One at 21:00 – the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address 75 years ago.

A similar celebration, known as Victory Day, is held on 9 May in several former Soviet countries including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

 

Read more via BBC/ Sky News/VE Day75

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