Sooke, Royal Canadian Legion Branch #54 combines ceremonies for the Battle of the Atlantic and VE-Day with a livestream on May 3. (Sooke Legion/Facebook)

Legions find new ways to remember 75th anniversary of victory in Europe

May 8 marks the 75th anniversary of VE-Day

Seventy-five years ago, towns and cities in Canada, Europe and allied nations witnessed an outpouring of emotion as residents took to the streets to celebrate. May 8, 1945 was Victory in Europe Day, or VE-Day, and it signalled Germany’s unconditional surrender and the end of the Second World War.

This year, while the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, commemorations of this historic day will be smaller than usual as local Royal Canadian Legion branches ask community members to take a few moments of remembrance from home.

“We need to reflect what they did for us and what we have today,” said Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch #91 in Langford. “We have to be thankful for what they died for, to give us what we have today.”

In Langford, Scott said they’ll lay candles and a wreath at the cenotaph in Veterans Memorial Park. He hopes flags will be at half mast as well, noting that the Legion’s flag is already at half mast to honour the Canadian Forces members recently lost in the Cyclone helicopter crash in the Ionian Sea.

READ ALSO: Sidney event marking end of the Second World War cancelled because of COVID-19

“I ask that the community take two minutes out of their day on [May 8] for remembrance,” Scott said.

The Royal Canadian Legion Trafalgar/ProPatria Branch #292 in Victoria had a few plans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War but due to the pandemic, will be cancelling them.

Angus Stanfield, dominion vice president and chair of the Poppy and Remembrance Committee, said it’s unfortunate they won’t be able to hold the event, noting that this year marks the end of the Battle of the Atlantic as well.

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in the Second World War in which Canada played a central role.

“Without a doubt I’ll be holding a few moments of silence,” Stanfield said. “I have it in mind that I’m going to go down to the cenotaph when it’s not going to interrupt anybody … I even thought I might take my [bagpipes].”

In Sooke, Royal Canadian Legion Branch #54 tried something new.

President Richard Steele said they combined ceremonies for the Battle of the Atlantic and VE-Day on May 3, with a Facebook livestream for community members to watch from home. A bagpiper, Steele and one other person were at the cenotaph to lay a wreath and call out the names of ships that went down during the battle. The fallen soldiers who recently died in the helicopter crash were remembered as well.

Steele said this way, the community could still join in remembrance despite the pandemic.

“Why is it important to remember? Perhaps one of the main reasons is so we don’t fall into the same traps as were set then,” Steele said. “We need to teach our young people that we don’t glorify war, we glorify those who went to war for us so we can live in the world.”

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca

CoronavirusRoyal Canadian Legion

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Glenn Wakefield’s rescue involved five airplanes and took more than 48 hours

UPDATED: Crews contain fire to attic of Central Saanich home

Firefighters are responding to a structure fire in Central Saanich

Canada West Golf Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

UBC, UBC-O, UFV and UVic athletes will not hit the links this year, Kelowna was set to host

First fall storm expected to hit Greater Victoria tonight

Heavy rainfall, winds expected over the next several days

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Most Read