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Lesson 3, Topic 1
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Celebrations Today

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Celebrations Today

VE Day is an official bank holiday in most countries affected by World War II.

However, the United Kingdom doesn’t recognise this as a bank holiday, meaning people still go to work and school. This year, 2020, to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day since 1945, the United Kingdom moved the bank holiday from 1st May (May Day) to 8th May instead. So only this year is this day being celebrated as a bank holiday.

Mass events were planned to take place across the United Kingdom but due to the unexpected turn of the coronavirus, most of these events have been cancelled. 

Planned Events in the UK, 2020

11:00am

2-minute silence

At 11am, the country will fall silent for 2 minutes to respect those who lost their lives during World War II. Members of the royal family will place wreaths on various monuments that symbolise World War II. The Red Arrows will also do a flypast over the skies of London.  

11:15am

The Royal British Legion, which supports members of the British armed forces, will host a livestream of readings and poems from World War II, interviews with and stories from VE Day veterans and musical performances too. 

2:00pm

At 2:00pm, historians from the National Museum of The Royal Navy, the National Army Museum and The Royal Air Force Museums will host a live webinar discussing the events of World War II. 

2:45pm

Winston Churchill's Victory Speech

At 2.45pm, the BBC will replay Winston Churchill’s infamous speech made at 3pm on 8th May 1945. This will be followed by various musical performances by military bands. 

3:00pm

Toast

The country will come together at 3pm to toast World War II heroes. People will stand on their doorsteps and clap and cheer.

5:00pm

Dance For VE Day

One of the traditional dances of the 1940’s was the Lindy Hop. English Heritage will host a dance-along at 5pm. Originally, they were to send out LindyHop dancers to communities around the country to teach the basic moves, but unfortunately plans changed quickly after the outbreak of coronavirus. 

6:00pm

What was supposed to be a packed concert at the Royal Albert Hall will now be a live-streamed performance on YouTube. Led by Katherine Jenkins, classic songs will be sung in the beautiful and historical Royal Albert Hall.  

7:00pm

Ringing Out For Peace

Churches and pubs will ring their bells around the United Kingdom in a call for world peace. 

9:00pm

Queen's Speech

At exactly the same time that her father, King George VI, gave a speech in 1945, Queen Elizabeth II, will make a speech paying tribute to those who lost their lives during World War II. 

9:00pm

Nationwide Singalong

One of the most famous songs in the UK during World War II, was We’ll Meet Again, sung by Vera Lynn. Still alive today, she will be leading the nationwide singalong of this song shortly after the queen’s speech tonight. 

What are you doing to celebrate VE Day? Let us know in our course forum!

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