Commemorating #VJDay75 across Buckinghamshire
Saturday 15 August 2020 marks 75 years since Victory over Japan Day (more commonly known as VJ Day). Whilst VE Day (Victory in Europe) marked the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, many thousands of Armed Forces personnel were still engaged in bitter fighting in the Far East. It wasn’t until Japan’s surrender in August 1945 (VJ Day) that World War II ended in its entirety.
What is VJ Day?
After days of rumours about Japan’s surrender, US President Harry S Truman officially broke the news at a press conference held at the White House at 7pm on 14 August 1945. Later at midnight, Britain's new PM Clement Atlee confirmed it, saying: "The last of our enemies is laid low."
Prime Minister Clement Atlee announced two days of national holiday to celebrate VJ Day on 15 and 16 August 1945. Millions of people from the allied countries took part in parades and street parties. In London, soldiers climbed traffic lights and waved newspapers in the air, while office workers threw lots of paper out of windows, like confetti.
This year, to mark the 75th anniversary, veterans of the Far East campaign will be at the heart of the commemorations as the nation thanks them for their service and sacrifice. Special events will also pay tribute to the tens of thousands of service personnel from across the UK and the Commonwealth who fought and died in the war against Japan, including all those who were held as prisoners of war by the Japanese.
Get involved | Commemorating in Buckinghamshire
VJ Day celebrations bring communities all over the world together in peace and common friendship, and we hope that this year – the 75th anniversary of VJ Day - will be no different. While celebrations might look different this year due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), Buckinghamshire Council is still keen to mark VJ Day nationally, and within our local communities, whilst adhering to the government’s guidelines around social distancing during this time.
We’ve been working with local partners and organisations to bring our commemorations online, and will be sharing stories, photos and videos on social media on Saturday 15 August – some featuring a few special guests!
Share your stories
If you, or a member of your family, have a treasured memory, intriguing tale or inspiring story from the first VJ Day celebrations in1945, then we’d love to hear from you! Similarly, please tell us how you and your family are celebrating VJ Day 75 over the weekend.
How to celebrate – and decorate – at home
There are many ways you can get involved with VJ Day, either outdoors while following social distancing guidance, or online.
- Be inspired by the government’s official ‘VJ Day At Home’ page. Check out the fantastic free resources available including: bunting to print and make at home, graphics to use on social media, posters to personalise, fun worksheets to print and colour and there’s even some delicious 1940s recipes!
- Have a socially distanced, quintessentially British, garden party with people you live with or those in your support bubble. Dress up or simply relax - and let’s all keep our fingers crossed for some sunny weather!
- A celebration isn’t a celebration without some delicious savoury snacks and sweet treats, so why not try and recreate some popular wartime recipes or keep things simple and decorate cupcakes with red, white and blue icing.
- Explore your own local and family World War II history. Take a look at the following online resources: Imperial War Museums,The National Archives, and National Army Museum and see what interesting facts you can discover. You can also find your local memorial with Imperial War Museum’s War Memorials Register.
- Get involved with Dan Snow’s VJ Day Challenge - inviting you to share messages of thanks to those who were involved with VJ Day and WWII and gave so much 75 years ago, in a creative way.
- Pay your respects as His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, accompanied by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, lead a national Two Minute Silence at 11am at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire as part of a special televised service.
- Keep your eyes in the skies for The Red Arrows who will conduct flypasts over Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff and will conclude their tour of the UK over London.
- Tune in to BBC One for national coverage of the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, including The Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum between 9.30am – 11.30am and VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute which will be broadcast between 8.30pm – 10pm. You can find more national events and scheduling on the gov.uk website.
Follow us on social media
Buckinghamshire Council and Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies will be posting about lots of local celebrations on Facebook and Twitter so be sure to take a look throughout the day! From sharing local historical photos, words from Buckinghamshire Council representatives and even a fantastic 1940s performance from The Polka Dots, don’t miss out on seeing how your local community has come together to celebrate VJDay75.
Follow @BucksCouncil and @CenBucksStudies