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  • Writer's pictureAngela Barton

VE Day 75

Covid 19 may have dampened the 75th VE Day celebrations by keeping us indoors, but we can honour those brave soldiers and the supportive families they left behind, by remembering them and their stories. Our self-isolation for a month or two is nothing compared to the years of suffering and resilience shown by our earlier generation.

May 8th 1945 was Victory in Europe (VE) Day and is a date that will remain in the memory of all those who witnessed it, although sadly, that number is diminishing each year. It meant that finally, after almost six years of a war that took millions of lives, had destroyed homes, families, businesses, cities and had brought huge suffering and privations to the populations of entire countries, had come to an end. This generation suffered for sixty-eight months with humour, courage and kindness shown by both those serving and protecting Britain to those who were left behind to keep the country going.

Millions of people celebrated the news that Germany had surrendered. Families in towns and cities across the world marked the victory with street parties, dancing and singing.

But it was not the end of all conflicts, nor was it an end to the impact the war had on people. The war against Japan lasted until August 1945, and the political, social and economic repercussions of the Second World War were felt long after Germany and Japan surrendered.

On 7th May at his headquarters in Reims, France, Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower accepted the unconditional surrender of all German forces. The document of surrender was signed on behalf of Germany by General Alfred Jodl.

After many years of restrictions, fear and hunger, people were understandably eager to celebrate their freedom. Colourful bunting and flags lined streets, villages, towns and cities across Europe. Bonfire were lit, people danced and sang and many tears of joy and relief were shed.

One way of remembering and thanking our brave heroes, is to keep the memory of those who died, alive, by telling their stories. I wrote Arlette’s Story because in one very small gesture, I wanted to keep the story of Oradour alive, so future generations will remember what happened to an ordinary family during World War 2. This story of deprivation, fear and violence played out in most households across Europe and beyond.

Will people remember their sacrifice in 75 years to come? If we don’t read, write and talk about their bravery and sacrifice, a time will come when people’s memory of them will fade.

The White Cliffs of Dover

There’ll be bluebirds over, The white cliffs of Dover, Tomorrow, just you wait and see. There’ll be love and laughter, And peace ever after, Tomorrow when the world is free.

"At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them."

Excerpt from Robert Binyon's poem.

One woman’s struggle to fight back against the enemy in order to protect the ones she loves.

When Arlette Blaise sees a German plane fly over the family farm in 1940, she’s comforted by the fact that the occupying forces are far away in the north of the country. Surely the war will not reach her family in the idyllic French countryside near to the small town of Oradour-sur-Glane?

But then Saul Epstein, a young Jewish man driven from his home by the Nazis, arrives at the farm and Arlette begins to realise that her peaceful existence might be gone for good …

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