VE Day 70th anniversary: A reminder of the ultimate sacrifices made

Wakefield Mayor Sandra Pickin raising the flag for Commonwealth Day at County Hall, Wakefield
Wakefield Mayor Sandra Pickin raising the flag for Commonwealth Day at County Hall, Wakefield

The country will fall silent for two minutes today to remember the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

Wakefield district will mark 70 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe by taking part in a national beacon lighting ceremony.

During the day of remembrance a two minute silence will be held across the country at 3pm.

In Wakefield city centre, a beacon will be lit at 9.30pm tonight at Coronation Gardens, next to the war memorial and County Hall.

VE Day marked the end of almost six years of conflict in Europe.

And this year the anniversary will be a celebration of peace, and a time to remember and pay tribute to all those who played their part in achieving it.

Wakefield Mayor, Coun Sandra Pickin said: “The 70th anniversary of VE Day is a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice that so many people during World War II.

“The lighting of beacons is a fitting way to celebrate peace and pay tribute to those who helped achieve victory in the war.”

The Second World War in Europe lasted from September 1, 1939 to May 8, 1945. Hostilities with Japan ceased in September 1945. It saw approximately 382,700 British service personnel and 67,100 civilians killed.

The beacon ceremony will start at 9.30pm with a fanfare, played on a bugle.

Harry Wakefield, a Second World War veteran, will also give a reading paying tribute to the people who gave their lives in the war.

At 9.32pm, Coun Sandra Pickin will light the beacon. It will remain alight for an hour.

The town hall clock, County Hall and Wakefield Cathedral, will also be illuminated in red from 9.30pm to 10.30pm, as part of the commemoration.