The 2020 VE day is the 75th. We can’t witness great spectacles and commemoration events because of the virus. Everything is much more low-key, necessarily.
But it is an astonishing moment and is one that demands reflection and pause. Nearly 6 years after war was declared at the start of September 1939, and 5 years after the fighting actually began (for Britain at least – Czechoslovakia and Poland suffered immediately, of course), it was all over. It’s impossible to imagine the relief and jubilation–tempered, unfortunately, by the knowledge that the war in Asia was ongoing. VJ day would have to wait a few months until nuclear devastation brought everything to a halt.
But what of the moment of surrender itself? I hunted around for accounts and found a great one. An AP journalist, Relman Morin was one of a number at SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) and his narrative is evocative and moving.