Shadow Armed Forces Minister and city MP Stephen Morgan has urged Portsmouth people to celebrate safely on Friday 8 May for Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
This year is particularly significant as it marks the 75th anniversary since the Allies’ formal acceptance of the unconditional surrender of Nazi forces in 1945. After the success of D-Day 75, Portsmouth was set for widespread street parties and public events.
While the major celebratory events have had to be cancelled due to social distancing measures amid Covid-19, Stephen Morgan MP has urged people to celebrate and pay tribute in alternative ways.
Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan MP said: “Many of the hard fought for freedoms secured by the brave people 75 years ago are the ones we find ourselves without today due to Covid-19. That makes the recognition and celebration of their actions even more important.
In looking to the past, we will find the strength to deal with the present. The continuation of celebrations is vital, this country has overcome hardship before, and we can do it again.
The efforts we can expect next week will be about celebrating victory over the most tyrannical regime the world has seen and spending time thinking about those who sacrificed so much for us. I will be spending time paying tribute to my own grandfather, who set sail from Portsmouth on D-Day and spent time fighting in the European theatre.”
While social distancing requirements scuppered some major celebration plans, which had included a veterans’ procession and street parties, across the country people have been showing ingenuity and coming up with alternative ideas.
Stephen Morgan MP added: “In true Portsmouth fashion, people are coming together to find safe, creative ways of celebrating. Some are placing a specially designed image of a Second World War soldier in their windows, while others are planning to cut out and put up homemade bunting.
I urge people from across our city to celebrate this important landmark in not just our nation’s, but the world’s history by getting involved in their own way. Understanding our shared heritage of remembrance helps bring communities together, we can’t let anything get in way of recognising the sacrifice of service people.”
Official commemorations will begin at 11:00 on Friday with a national moment of remembrance and a two-minute silence, according to government guidelines.
A pack with ideas for homemade VE Day bunting, original recipes, games, and educational and creative activities for children has been produced by Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, so families under lockdown can create their own experiences at home. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/her-majesty-the-queen-to-send-a-message-to-the-nation-to-mark-75th-anniversary-of-ve-day
Armed forces charity Royal British Legion Industries has launched its “Tommy in the window” campaign, producing specially designed figures of soldiers. More information and educational material can be found here: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/teaching-remembrance