Oxford residents are being encouraged to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day this week from home.
Victory in Europe Day marks the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany’s armed forces, and with it the end of the Second World War in Europe, on 8 May 1945.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced Oxford City Council to cancel some its plans, but it has been able to move others online.
Oxford residents are being asked to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation from home on Friday (8/5).
Members of the public can share their celebrations – including photographs, memories, bunting decorations, ‘stay at home’ street parties and singalongs – on social media using #VEDay75Oxford.
The City Council will share residents’ messages to the wider community using its social media platforms.
Residents can also take part in the national celebrations on Friday (8/5), which are being led by the Royal British Legion:
- 11am: Observe a two minute silence to remember those who lost their lives in the Second World War
- 11.15am: Watch the Royal British Legion’s VE Day Live stream, which will feature stories and memories from those who served and sacrificed during the Second World War
- 2.50pm: Watch the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Tim Stevenson, deliver a VE Day message on Oxfordshire County Council’s Facebook page
- 3pm: Join the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Craig Simmons, in raising a toast to the nation’s heroes. Oxford City Council will share the Lord Mayor’s toast on its social media channels
- 6pm: Listen to a VE Day Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral
- 9pm: Watch the Queen deliver a message to the nation on BBC One. Her father, King George VI, gave a radio address at the same time in 1945
- Following the Queen’s message, residents will be invited to open their doors and join a national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn's We'll Meet Again. The lyrics can be found on the Royal British Legion’s website
Throughout the day, the City Council will also be sharing video messages to mark the 75th anniversary, including from Oxfordshire residents whose relatives fought in the Second World War.
"This week, 75 years ago, saw the beginning of the end of World War 2 with the cessation of hostilities in Europe. It took until the autumn for Japan to surrender marking the official end of the war. After that, it took many years for society and the economy to return to normal. But the spirit of the British people prevailed. Then, as now, by working together we can achieve amazing things.
“Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I ask you to join me at 3pm on Friday to raise a toast to the nation’s bygone heroes.”
The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Craig Simmons
“Seventy-five years ago today the guns fell silent across Europe and in Oxford people poured out onto the streets to celebrate peace in Europe. Today is the last major anniversary of VE Day that significant numbers of the Second World War generation would have been able to take part in.
“I was greatly looking forward to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those who served their country, hearing their stories and paying tribute to the sacrifice that they and their peers made so that we can have peace today.
“I am proud to have served on Oxford City Council alongside those who bravely served their country such as former councillors Les Town, Joe Blewitt and Bill Buckingham. They were all modest men who found it difficult to talk about what they had seen and done. Today I will be thinking of them and the countless others who won our peace.
“Today we honour their service and the sacrifice of our parents and grandparents.
“Please join me in marking the 75th anniversary here in Oxford. We can come together on social media and on our doorsteps across our city in unity, hope and remembrance.
“We will remember them.”
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council