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

Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison

Great Horned Owl found in Kings Park killed by three rodenticides

Point-guard lobs no-look, three-pointer for Oak Bay High video

Trick-shot only took three times, says Oak Bay teen

Cancelled cruise ships costs Victoria more than $130 million

Transport Canada bans ships until end of October in response to COVID-19

Phase-by-phase look at how Greater Victoria Public Libraries will reopen

GVPL to quarantine returned material for a minimum of 72 hours before lending again

Langford pitches Westhills as Canadian Premier League soccer hub

Langford could host all eight teams for August matches

VIDEO: Victoria dental staff dance to *NSYNC to promote reopening

Urban Smiles staff ‘want you back’ after closure in response to pandemic

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Most Read