Europe holds low-key VE-Day commemorations due to virus

The residents of Cambrian Road in Chester dress up in 1945 clothing and have a social distancing tea party to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Friday May 8, 2020. Although large-scale public events are unable to go ahead because of coronavirus restrictions, tributes will be paid by politicians and members of the royal family, as well as through a host of other events as the nation remembers those who fought and died in World War II. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Europe was marking the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany to Allied forces following six years of war in a low-key fashion Friday due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions across the continent. Instead of the big celebrations that had been planned, people across Europe have been asked to mark the moment in private.


Queen Elizabeth II will lead the tributes in the U.K. to mark the 75th anniversary with a broadcast to the nation at 9 p.m., the exact time that her father addressed the nation 75 years ago. A two-minute silence will be observed at 11 a.m. to honor the memories of the British servicemen and women who gave their lives during the war. The silence will be led by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and broadcast from a location in Scotland, where they are self-isolating.

The victory speech of Britain’s wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill, will also be broadcast later on BBC Television.


French President Emmanuel Macron is to visit the statue of General Charles de Gaulle in Paris before attending a VE Day commemoration ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe. De Gaulle led the Free France forces during the war from London after his country had been invaded by Germany in 1940. France had been liberated in 1944.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other high-ranking officials are to lay a wreath at the Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and Tyranny. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is also set to deliver a speech and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is expected to be illuminated to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Source: Associated Press