Why VE Day celebrations should give us all hope during lockdown

This news title was there for your relatives when Winston Churchill announced Victory in Europe 75 years ago. Today are there for you as our communities face another major challenge. Below is our letter to you, our readers.
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Dear readers,

Seventy five years ago, the United Kingdom changed forever. On VE Day our nation began to leave behind fear, uncertainty and conflict and stepped into a new era of hope, reunion and prosperity.

It was a day for celebration. Across the country, the streets came alive with bunting, food, flags and people; we were united in joy.

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Winston Churchill said this: “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead.”

He was referring to the conflict still raging outside Europe in Japan.

“Advance, Britannia! Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!” were his concluding remarks.

Today, we pause with respect and honour to remember the huge sacrifices made in the second world war.

Dancing in the North East on VE Day in 1945Dancing in the North East on VE Day in 1945
Dancing in the North East on VE Day in 1945
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As we do, we are reminded of our own very different toil and effort that still lies ahead. But we are sustained by the incredible sense of community that was also present seven and a half decades ago.

Dame Vera Lynn, whose music was a ray of sunshine during the war years, spoke to our colleagues in Sussex to give renewed hope as our country faces its latest challenge.

“All around the world, people are facing extremely difficult times. It is likely that we will all have to make hard decisions in the coming months. I am reminded of World War II, when our country faced the darkest of times and yet, despite our struggles, pulled together for the common good and we faced the common threat together as a country, and as a community of countries that joined as one right across the world.

“In light of the challenges we now face, it is time for us all to rediscover that same spirit that saw us through the War. By keeping calm, looking after each other, and following the Government’s latest guidance, we can overcome the threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19) just as we have overcome so many other challenges before.

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“I am sure many people, especially the elderly, are worried about what the future may hold. I encourage you all to keep smiling through.”

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The acts of kindness in our communities, the revitalised neighbourly feeling, the doorstep applause for our key workers, the rainbows plastered in windows - these stem from the same characteristics that defined the wartime spirit: getting on with life and making the best of a bad situation.

Much like our predecessors did three quarters of a century ago, our newspapers and websites have been there to share the news that is important to you and to lift people’s spirits by amplifying the positivity that is already out there.

As we near the milestone of 50 days of lockdown, with plans to ease the current restrictions on the horizon, it seems fitting that we should be celebrating VE Day.

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We will have our own day of celebration soon, and our team will be there to share it with you when it does, so that in seventy five years from now, we can remind ourselves once again that difficult times always come to an end.

My very best wishes to you all and my sincere thanks for your continued support of our newspapers and websites

Stay safe

Gary Oliver, head of content

Mark Thompson, head of audience