Birmingham to remember and celebrate its heroes on VE Day

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Mohammed Azim, reflects on the debt owed to those who served in the Second World War – and how VE Day could bring our communities closer together.

This Friday (8 May) celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day were due to take place across the country – and Birmingham, of course, had its own party planned.

But as the heroes of 2020 are helping to keep our city and citizens safe from coronavirus, those plans are now virtual. So where on 8 May 1945 the public filled the streets, parks and pubs to celebrate, this year we will fill virtual pews, sing and dance in our homes, and picnic in our porches or gardens instead.

Above all it is important that we take time to remember the generation who fought to keep Britain safe and those who kept the society going during the war until victory was declared, so the day will begin with a national two minutes’ silence at 11am.

The Royal British Legion will be hosting a livestream of memories, stories and discussion on its website from 11:15am.

Birmingham’s civic service has been pre-recorded, without a congregation, at St Martin’s in the Bull Ring, which you can join in via the church’s YouTube channel at 2pm. The Last Post will be played, via social media at 2.55pm, which will be followed by a national toast at 3pm to truly begin the celebrations.

VE Day is also a time of reflection, and I’m sure many of you will want to visit graves of loved ones and our fallen soldiers – so I am pleased many of our cemeteries are extending their opening hours for this Friday. These will vary at different sites, so please visit our website, where you can find full details, and we urge all visitors to maintain social distancing at all times.

Finally, while we can’t come together to celebrate as planned, in the words of Dame Vera Lynn, we will meet again soon.

This blog was posted on 6 May 2020

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