At 11am on Friday, 8th May, our nation will fall silent for two minutes, to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day and in honour of all those who gave their lives for our freedom.
As the Royal British Legion have said, there is no right or wrong way to take part in the silence. Some people may choose to stand at the window or step outside the front door, and I encourage all in Crawley to spend this time to think of the events which took place three quarters of a century ago.
Alongside a host of television and radio broadcasts, the Royal British Legion have also developed a VE Day learning pack which is designed for seven to 14 year olds, with first-hand accounts from the Second World War generation, interviews with veterans and a variety of activities to help families explore and commemorate VE Day together.
I am grateful to Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council for their work to ensure this important anniversary can be marked remotely given the current COVID-19 pandemic social distancing restrictions. This will include posting items on social media from the Crawley Library archives, as well as a range of resources available online from the West Sussex Record Office.
My thanks as well to St John’s Church, whose celebration service will also take place remotely on Friday.
Today marks the tenth anniversary of the general election where I was first elected to Parliament. It is not lost on me that were it not for the bravery of those who defeated the threat to our freedom in the Second World War, we would not have a functioning democracy and a free country today.
When the clock strikes 11am on Friday my thoughts will be of the individuals from the UK and right across the free world who stood up for our way of life, including the service of those from what would soon become the New Town of Crawley.
Henry Smith MP