Friday, May 8 marks the 70th anniversary of VE Day. The occasion will be commemorated with events across the UK. However, over half of young people across the UK have no idea what VE day is and what it marks, according to a newly released survey.
VE Day stands for Victory in Europe Day, which this year will mark 70 years since the end of the second world war in Europe. This day was one of the most pivotal days in modern history and it is concerning that such a high number of young people seem to be completely unaware of it.
The poll revealed that around 38 per cent of 18-25 year olds were unable to correctly identify Winston Churchill as the British Prime Minister who ‘lead Britain to victory’ on May 8 1945.
Many people from charities and social media are urging the citizens of the UK to commemorate the day and pay their respects to the 60 million lives which were lost in the second world war – a fact which only 30 per cent of those who were polled knew.
A charity entitled ‘Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association’, which supports those who fought in the Second World War and their families states that the British public owes a great debt to the people who served as well as their families.
David Murray, chief executive of SSAFA, who served for over 30 years in the Royal Air Force said:
“It is a real shame that our young people do not have a basic level of knowledge of the Second World War. Many of them probably have not too distant relatives who fought in what was by far the biggest world war we have seen, in terms of lives lost”.
“Seventy years on and the nostalgic memory of VE Day is being played out across Britain and so it should be. As a nation we have a strong tradition of commending out Forces and we have much to be proud of”.
The lack of awareness displayed by 1000 young people was branded ‘astonishing’ and suggests that more needs to be done to have young people engage with history and its value.
More than 100 beacons will be lit across the country and church bells will ring out in celebration as part of three days of events to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day this week and pay respect to the 60 million lives which were lost during the war.
Image Credit: flickr.com/intvgene