Celebrating heroes, past and present | St James's London

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Celebrating heroes, past and present

We commemorate VE Day

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The 8th May 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day; the end of the Second World War. This year, the early May Bank Holiday will fall on a Friday, commemorating this historical 1945 event. Read on to discover how you can mark this occasion yourself, as well as learning about our unique ties to the day.

What does VE Day represent?

VE Day marks the end of World War Two, when the Allied Forces formally announced the surrender of Nazi Germany following six years of fighting. It was a war that changed the course of global history and impacted the lives of millions around the world.

What did Churchill say?

On 8th May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, addressed the nation with his words of victory. Churchill’s close ties to your central London neighbourhood are a point of pride for us; his childhood home still stands in St James’s Square, bearing a green plaque to mark its significance. A brilliant orator, Churchill’s words from this iconic moment evoke a community standing together. Perhaps you’ll agree that his description of the London spirit still rings true – a spirit that can be seen across the city – and the nation - to this day:

Did anyone want to give in? [The crowd shouted “No.”] Were we down-hearted? [“No!”] The lights went out and the bombs came down. But every man, woman and child in the country had no thought of quitting the struggle. London can take it.

How will the 75th Anniversary of VE Day be commemorated?

Whilst this VE Day will be different, there is still myriad ways that you can celebrate. If you’d like to join in and pay tribute to the wartime generation, we’ve outlined some of the highlights below:

- At 11am, a two-minute silence will be held to honour the service of so many during World War Two. This will be broadcast on the BBC and is supported by The Royal British Legion.

- At 2.55pm, solo trumpeters, buglers and cornet players are asked to join in playing the ‘Last Post’ from the safety of your homes

- At 3pm, 'The Nation's Toast to the Heroes of WW2', with households from across the country invited to raise a glass to the generation who sacrificed so much. You are encouraged to say the following toast: "To those who gave so much, we thank you."

- Following the Toast, the original speech by Sir Winston Churchill will be broadcast at 3pm.

- At 6.55pm, Town Criers will be ‘Crying out for Peace’. You can see if you can hear your local representative.

- At 9pm, The Queen will address the nation in a pre-recorded speech, broadcast at the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave his radio address on 8th May 1945.

After the Queen’s address, the nation is invited to come together once more in a rendition of Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

We hope you will join us in safely respecting the unique events taking place on this important day. Please do share pictures of your socially-distanced celebrations on our social channels, @StJamesLondon and @RegentStreetW1.