Message for VE Day

This Friday, like many people across Dumfries and Galloway constituency, my thoughts will turn to a day 75 years ago when the Second World War in Europe officially came to an end.

Like most today much of my knowledge of the emotional outpouring of that day comes from older relatives and friends who had lived through more than six years of global conflict which, together with the remaining part of the war in the Far East, helped preserve the freedom and survival of our family of nations.

For those old enough to remember the war years, the VE Day anniversary will not only be an occasion to recall the often spontaneous celebrations that broke out at what was a crucial milestone on the road to peace but will likely be tinged with sadness for those in the forces and civilians who lost their lives.

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 emergency, communities will not be able to mark this important anniversary in quite the same way initially envisaged.

In the midst of this unprecedented battle to control coronavirus, in which NHS staff, care teams and a vast army of key workers and volunteers have gone above and beyond for the common good, I believe we can feel a greater empathy than ever with the generations who witnessed VE Day in May, 1945.

This Friday there will be a thoughtful revised programme of events in which people can safely become involved whilst social distancing in their own homes.

There will be special programming on the BBC and other networks, including an 11 am national two minutes silence, Winston Churchill's historic announcement that the war in Europe was over, a nationwide rendition of Dame Vera Lynn's 'We'll Meet Again' and a special address by Her Majesty The Queen.

I believe Friday will be a time to honour the wartime generations, be inspired by their courage and fortitude whilst not forgetting those that faced the war in the Far East, who will be commemorated on VJ Day on August 15.