On May 8, 1945, King George VI made one of the most significant speeches of his reign. Addressing the nation on VE Day, he said, “At this hour, when the dreadful shadow of war has passed far from our hearths and homes in these islands, we may at last make one pause for thanksgiving and then turn our thoughts to the tasks all over the world which peace in Europe brings with it.”
And now, exactly 75 years later, the Queen is due to follow in her father’s footsteps and address her people to mark the milestone anniversary of the moment the guns fell silent at the end of World War II in Europe.
Announcing its coverage plans to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day, the BBC said in a statement: “At the heart of the commemorations will be a special address from HM The Queen broadcast at 9.00pm – the exact time her father spoke to the nation three quarters of a century ago.”
The Queen will have her own memories of that important day. Then 19-year-old Princess Elizabeth, she was allowed to leave the palace along with her sister Margaret to join the crowds outside celebrating.
The Queen’s message on May 8, 2020 will form the centerpiece of the televised musical event VE Day 75: The People’s Celebration, which will begin at 8 p.m. in the UK. The BBC has outlined how the program will culminate with the nation coming together to sing Vera Lynn’s wartime classic We’ll Meet Again, which the Queen referenced in her recent speech reassuring the nation amid the coronavirus crisis.
“At a time when many are looking for unity and hope, the BBC will bring households together to remember the past, pay tribute to the Second World War generation, and honour our heroes both then and now,” the broadcaster’s Director General, Tony Hall, said in a statement. The program will also include memories and photographs from members of the World War II generation.
Additional events throughout the day will include a two minute silence at 11 a.m. and a broadcast of then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech in the afternoon.
Until the coronavirus outbreak, there were plans to stage events and street parties. “Sadly this has all had to be cancelled and the WW2 generation, our golden generation, are at home in lockdown,” the BBC said in a statement, adding: “We want to let them know that we have not forgotten the peace that they won for us, that we are thinking of them and that they are not alone.”
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