Friday was the 75th Anniversary of VE day, the day we celebrate the end of World War 2 and Victory in Europe. I still remember learning about it ahead of this day in 1995, having a huge party at school where we all dressed up as children of the 1940s and interviewing my Aunty’s neighbour who was an evacuee. I hadn’t realised it was such a big anniversary coming up until the week before, I think the threat of Coronavirus being more of a big topic but we had a little time to prepare.
We printed out pictures to colour in and talked about the war. Dylan is only 8 so it was an introduction really for all of them as it isn’t a subject that has come up before. Aware that my skills do not lie in teaching, we resorted to watching Horrible Histories episodes as we discussed it and coloured in. Later that day, we had a hand written note through the door letting us know about a little street party that some neighbours were planning. Each household looking after themselves, being separate but together in our own way.
We hung some bunting on the garage and stuck up our pictures, We dressed in red, white and blue and prepared our own cream tea, with scones, strawberries and the lockdown staple – banana bread.
We spread out a blanket on our driveway and watched as the local families did the same. Each household staying in their own space, with their own food and drinks, their own decorations covering only their property but we were all celebrating alongside one another. I could wave to neighbours I hadn’t really met yet, shout greeting across the street at those I know and chat across the wall to my next door neighbours who probably know all the children’s names a bit too well having had to listen to me shouting at them for seven weeks.
This lockdown has shown the power of community and it seemed a perfect way to celebrate that in the current situation as well as thinking about everyone who lost their lives in the war and all those that are still fighting and dying around the world in ongoing conflict. A party, even a socially distanced one was a wonderful way to stay positive and I hope that in 25 years the children will look back with fond memories the same way I do.