It’s finally here – the first May bank holiday. I’m sure many of you are excited to take a break from your make-shift office and enjoy the long weekend, but there’s something even more significant to celebrate today. People from far and wide are coming together (virtually, of course) to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day and the ultimate end of World War II in Europe.
The Isle of Man was no exception to the trouble that would occur after Neville Chamberlain made a broadcast declaring war in 1939. Within months of the announcement, the Isle of Man had gone through a quick transformation with the introduction of “internment camps, three airfields, top secret radar stations, gunnery and pilot schools, rationing in our homes and so much more”, according to James Franklin from Culture Vannin.
To pay respect and reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of those before us, the Isle of Man Government will mark the occasion with a two-minute silence at 11am; and at 3pm, we will hear the sound of our iconic public warning siren (yes, I did just say iconic) for the very last time for VE Day (we’re going digital, folks!).
You might be wondering how to celebrate the 75th anniversary for yourself amidst this corona chaos? Well, luckily for us, Culture Vannin has teamed up with the Department of Education, Sport & Culture and Manx National Heritage to create a number of fun, educational and home-bound activities to get stuck into. Jo Callister, Curriculum Advisor for Department of Education, Sport and Culture explained that:
“Everyone has the chance to organise something really special to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. It’s a unique chance to come together in peace and common friendship. Although we can’t do that all in one place, we can definitely all celebrate from a safe distance!
“We have put together a VE Day toolkit to help with your planning. We hope this toolkit will be a great resource for those home schooling as well. Also, we would love to see all your photographs uploaded to your social media with the hashtag #IsleofManVEDay75.”
You can download the celebration toolkit for free, which includes:
Wartime rationing recipes with the help of Cook With G
Designing bunting and tea cups for your home
Short films on WWII in the Isle of Man
Dance for VE Day with Lindy Hop lessons