FRIDAY May 8 is the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe.

VE day brought to an end in Europe, a war that had ripped through and ravaged countries and people since 1939. Whilst the war with Japan raged on until August 1945, VE day must’ve brought with it a hope and euphoria, the like of which must have seemed unimaginable in the preceding 5 and a half years.

Since the early days of Covid-19, back in January, there have been war analogies, metaphors and sayings slung about as though we are still living in the days of crowding around a wireless and sharing an egg.

But of course, this time, we are not fighting another person, country or ideology, but a virus that can make anyone ill. We don’t have a vaccine and we are still learning about it. I didn’t state that to reinforce the misery, merely to highlight a very obvious difference between then and now and how today when we fight, our infantry use social distancing, ventilators and PPE, not tanks and guns.

However, one similarity to 1945 is that the war ending, didn’t turn everything back to how it had been before hostilities erupted, just as I think it is unlikely that we will soon return to what we once knew as normal. Likely we will instead move to what I keep hearing politicians and journalists call our new normal. In 1945 there were many displaced people, there were buildings, economies and lives to rebuild and rationing continued until 1954. In 2020 we will probably have to feel our way through a new way of reopening business and social lives and sense in to an altered way of being with one another. It is scary and unsettling and we will all go through myriad emotions and experiences on our way, to who knows where right now.

But one thing I do intend to do, just like they did in May 1945, is mark the moment that guns finally fell silent across Europe. There will be no street parties or gatherings, but we can still show our respects and share in that feeling of joy. We have already decided to make a Union Jack cheesecake; plus scones and sandwiches and have ourselves a celebratory afternoon tea. I have even found a recipe for something called ‘Victory Cake’ and might rustle one of those up out of curiosity. We will make bunting that we will festoon around the living room. We will ring my great aunt, a teenager as the war ended and my parents, wishing they could be with us but knowing the safest thing is for them to stay put. I will raise a toast to the fallen. I will observe the two minutes silence. I will pause, reflect and above all be respectful of and grateful for, those that in the 1940’s as well as today, make sacrifices for their fellow human beings and work and battle to help others in testing, terrifying and tumultuous times.