75 years ago today, the war in Europe came to an end. The nation celebrated, energised no doubt by relief and tinged certainly with sadness for the many who had lost loved ones. Horror unimaginable to my generation was over.
The villagers of Fulneck are commemorating VE Day, remembering the joy of that day and, no doubt, the sacrifices made by so many, not just from our county, England and the British Isles, but also the Commonwealth and our other Allies.
For us as a school, this would have been an important day, a day to bring together our community to mark what this golden generation of people did to protect our future, not out of any sense of nationalistic pride but rather pride in, and gratitude for, the values of our people. In many ways, values that are not so different to those of service and leadership celebrated on the stained-glass windows of our own Moravian church.
Instead, instigated by our Year 2 teacher Jayne Bleazard, we will be using technology to bring our families together. Jayne has asked our pupils to make their own bunting, design and make spitfire gliders and colour in their own pictures for windows. Director of Music, Heather Pennwood has put together a set of VE Day themed songs on Google Classroom and Food Tech teacher Emma Lawn will be running a live profiteroles cooking challenge on Google Classroom.
Later, we hope that families will be sending us pictures of their picnics. Oliver Blackburn will share these on our social media sites. Oliver even has us featured on Capital FM! Thoroughly modern, but this certainly isn’t the way that we would have envisaged commemorating VE Day, though.
There have been comparisons made with our current situation, largely puerile as the conditions placed on us now hardly compare to those of World War Two.
I do wonder, though if perhaps our feelings will be intensified by our extraordinary circumstances: the pain being felt in many of our homes as loved ones battle this illness, emotion on far too many occasions turned to grief; and, the gratitude for the work of our NHS today mirroring that of the armed forces all those years ago.
What is, for me, a fairer comparison are that the calls for leadership, fraternity and strong-will are equally valid today if we are to emerge from this crisis as strong a community as we were when we entered it.