The Queen of England is addressing her nation at 9 p.m. local time to commemorate the 75-year anniversary of the allied victory in Europe, better know as VE Day.

It’s likely Queen Elizabeth II is the only living European leader, or even world leader, who clearly remembers the day World War II ended in Europe and the ensuing celebrations.

“I vividly remember the jubilant scenes my sister and I witnessed with our parents and Winston Churchill from the balcony of Buckingham Palace,” she recalled in her prepared remarks. “The sense of joy in the crowds who gathered outside and across the country was profound, though while we celebrated the victory in Europe, we knew there would be further sacrifice. It was not until August that fighting in the Far East ceased and the war finally ended.”

Her speech focuses on sacrifices made by the war-time generation.

“Many people laid down their lives in that terrible conflict,” she said. “They fought so we could live in peace, at home and abroad.”

Her Majesty also acknowledged the difficulties in celebrating such an important anniversary amid the current global pandemic.

“Today it may seem hard that we cannot mark this special anniversary as we would wish,” she said. “Instead we remember from our homes and our doorsteps. But our streets are not empty; they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other.”

I speak to you today at the same hour as my father did, exactly 75 years ago. His message then was a salute to the men and women at home and abroad who had sacrificed so much in pursuit of what he rightly called a “great deliverance.”

The war had been a total war; it had affected everyone, and no one was immune from its impact. Whether it be the men and women called up to serve; families separated from each other; or people asked to take up new roles and skills to support the war effort, all had a part to play. At the start, the outlook seemed bleak, the end distant, the outcome uncertain. But we kept faith that the cause was right — and this belief, as my father noted in his broadcast, carried us through.

Never give up, never despair — that was the message of VE Day. I vividly remember the jubilant scenes my sister and I witnessed with our parents and Winston Churchill from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The sense of joy in the crowds who gathered outside and across the country was profound, though while we celebrated the victory in Europe, we knew there would be further sacrifice. It was not until August that fighting in the Far East ceased and the war finally ended.

Many people laid down their lives in that terrible conflict. They fought so we could live in peace, at home and abroad. They died so we could live as free people in a world of free nations. They risked all so our families and neighbourhoods could be safe. We should and will remember them.

As I now reflect on my father’s words and the joyous celebrations, which some of us experienced first-hand, I am thankful for the strength and courage that the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and all our allies displayed.

The wartime generation knew that the best way to honour those who did not come back from the war, was to ensure that it didn’t happen again. The greatest tribute to their sacrifice is that countries who were once sworn enemies are now friends, working side by side for the peace, health and prosperity of us all.

Today it may seem hard that we cannot mark this special anniversary as we would wish. Instead we remember from our homes and our doorsteps. But our streets are not empty; they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other. And when I look at our country today, and see what we are willing to do to protect and support one another, I say with pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognise and admire.

I send my warmest good wishes to you all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Pope Francis hosts delegation of NBA players and their union leaders at the Vatican for MASKLESS meeting about social justice

The delegation of five players and five union executives met with Pope Francis in the papal library of the Apostolic Palace on Monday, presenting gifts and discussing their experiences in fighting racism and social injustice. Photos and videos of the…

Netanyahu ahead in Israeli election, but still seeking governing majority

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led on Tuesday in a cliffhanger election in Israel, but was still short of a governing majority in a third national ballot in less than a year, exit polls showed. On the basis…

10 of the best books set in Turkey – that will take you there

While Turkey can be proud of its literary traditions – especially poetry heavily influenced by Persian verse forms – it is nevertheless a nation without its own Tolstoy, Flaubert or Austen. Only in the 20th century, when the fall of…

Kremlin urged to protect journalist after alleged threats by Chechen leader

More than 100 Russian rights activists and other public figures have called on the Kremlin to protect a prominent journalist after Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya, posted what were seen as thinly veiled threats on Instagram. Kadyrov’s video addressed…