VE Day 75 and the Lockdown
The anniversary of the end of war in Europe and how so many couldn’t resist breaking lock down in the UK
It was a day which signalled the defeat of fascism in Europe. The Third Reich was ended by the allied forces, sparking celebration across the continent. Three quarters of a century later, the celebrations have turned into remembrance.
Many in the UK who were out on the streets yesterday, both those who were social distancing and those who carried on as if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic lockdown, will have known someone who experienced the day that the war was officially over. Many, such as Colonel Tom Moore, have personal memories of that day.
The day is one which shouldn’t be remembered as the anniversary of victory over Europe, which some papers seemed to portray it as, because it was not. The Second World War was not the UK alone against the Axis powers. We were a nation which was joined by soldiers of the commonwealth as well as the USA and Russia, the latter doing most of what you might call ‘the dirty work’ of grinding the Nazis down.
Remembrance of all those who died on all fronts to defeat the Nazi war machine is something which would have passed over many of those ‘celebrating’ in the streets.
A good point was made by several on social media, for a country which prides itself on the Second World War, a lot of people in the UK know very little about what actually happened during the conflict.
Certain figures on Twitter pointed out a concern about groups of Muslims possibly gathering during Ramadan, saying that it would lead to a rise in cases. I’m not disputing whether this happened or not, but the clear racist agenda was given a rightful lesson when images and videos emerged of people gathering in large numbers on the VE Day celebrations.
Thousands of Muslim soldiers fought and died in both world wars on the side of the British; a further fact which many people in the UK tend to forget. Whether on purpose or not, is down to their own conscious.
VE Day is a chance to reflect on how the UK played its part in the larger Allied operation to take back control of Europe from the grasp of fascism. It was used by too many people as an excuse to meet up with friends and family. You can’t say you are going to remember the sacrifice made by that generation by not making your own, far smaller, sacrifice of not going out to your friend’s garden for a BBQ during a pandemic lockdown.
A personal favourite was a social distancing conga line using a rope to measure out the distance, only for every single participant to be touching that same rope. I wonder if it dawned on anyone? Maybe not even the person filming.
Despite the attitudes on social media and the many instances of the lockdown rules being flaunted, VE Day was used by many to remember the true horrors suffered by people across the world.
The Second World War is something which is engrained into the UK’s DNA, its probably time for people to learn more about it and most importantly how the UK was not the main fighting force in Europe and how many of those who fought for the UK were from far flung corners of the planet.