The Armed Forces have led the nation in commemorating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe and have paid tribute to the enormous sacrifices of the Greatest Generation in restoring peace to the continent.
We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to that generation of heroes, from all backgrounds and many countries, who gave so much to defend the United Kingdom and free Europe in WWII. #VEday75 #ThisIsYourVictory @RAFBF @RAFAssociation pic.twitter.com/W22OfpSUrC— ACM Mike Wigston (@ChiefofAirStaff) May 8, 2020
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston said:
“We want these flypasts to lift eyes and spirits in celebration of peace in Europe 75 years ago today. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to that generation of heroes, from all backgrounds and many countries, who gave so much to defend the United Kingdom and free Europe from Nazi tyranny.
“The Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Army of today are inspired by everyone who served before us, but today especially, those who fought for and won our freedom in the Second World War. I’m honoured the Royal Air Force is leading this tribute on behalf of our proud and grateful nation to say thank you.”
Chief of the Air Staff
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston
Military personnel across the UK and on operations around the world paused for a two-minute silence during the National Moment of Remembrance.
Although the enormous public events planned for Central London were unable to go ahead, messages of thanks to Second World War veterans were sent from across the Armed Forces, thanking them for their resilience, determination and sacrifice.
This morning Defence Secretary Ben Wallace laid a wreath at the Guards Memorial in Central London in a small and poignant ceremony.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“Today we remembered the hundreds of thousands of people who sacrificed their lives for the greatest achievement of defeating fascism and achieving victory in Europe.
“The peoples of this great nation, who at one point stood alone against Nazi Germany, safeguarded our freedoms through their collective endeavour. It makes you proud to be British.”
The Armed Forces also brought the commemorations to home across the nation by paying tribute to their predecessors during special BBC One broadcasts.
Two Second World War Spitfire aircraft flew over the White Cliffs of Dover and military bands played wartime music for the television tributes.
Ahead of #VEDay75 the Armed Forces came together on the White Cliffs of Dover to display their gratitude to the Second World War Generation.— Royal Air Force (@RoyalAirForce) May 8, 2020
A Lone Piper from the @scots_guards played whilst two @RAFBBMF Spitfires performed a flypast overhead.pic.twitter.com/JBTsMVtGrl