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Seventy-five years ago, after nearly six years of war and an immeasurable loss of life, Victory in Europe was finally declared.
That victory brought the end of the Second World War ever closer and gave people across the world hope that their hardship was coming to an end.
Every year since then, men, women and children across our country and beyond, have paused to commemorate that momentous occasion as we now know it – VE Day.
It symbolises victory over oppression, the restoration of our freedoms and liberty, and the dawning of peace after the horrors of war – a war in which 10 police officers from Derbyshire gave their lives to protect us.
It is a day that is synonymous with images of packed crowds, of bunting and street parties and of families and friends coming together again with smiles on their faces.
It is absolutely essential that we continue to commemorate VE Day and what it represents.
Of course, in 2020, none of us can commemorate it in the way we want to.
There will be no street parties. No parades. No services in places of worship, where we would honour the glorious dead.
The Government restrictions on movement are still in place.
We find ourselves yet again facing a loss of liberty, only this time the battlefield is completely different.
Today our frontline is made up of doctors, nurses, carers, police officers, firefighters, refuse collectors and many more who are protecting those very freedoms that that most heroic of generations fought, and died to protect.
We know that people are having to make sacrifices right now – not seeing friends and family is hard and not knowing when you might be able to hold those dearest to you again is intolerable.
But for tens of thousands of families, that time will never come. They will never touch the hand of their grandmother, their father, their son or their wife.
We regularly talk of the Blitz Spirit, the stiff upper lip and the unbreakable determination of our country. Well now is the time that we truly embody that in our actions.
We would all dearly love to see those famous street party scenes from 75 years ago repeated this weekend.
But for the moment, your celebrations need to be within your homes and with your immediate family – so we can get as many people to the end of the current adversity we face.
Yes, there will be hard times ahead but we have faced those challenges before, come together and emerged victorious.
To paraphrase one of the most famous songs in our history, I want to assure you, we will meet again.
We don’t yet know when that will be, but if we continue fighting this battle together, with a shared spirit, that freedom will be ours once more.
Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “This weekend marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, a day that must never be forgotten, a day when Victory in Europe was first recognised. Whilst we cannot mark this as perhaps we may have originally planned, it is still important to honour the men and women who served, who ensured that we are able to enjoy many of the things we take for granted today.
“The last few weeks have reminded us all that liberty, freedom and choice are precious beyond price. That’s why we will remember those who gave so much, we will give thanks for their courage and selflessness. Although we will celebrate this day at home, its significance on so much that we hold dear remains undiminished. Like our descendants we have come together in the current worldwide crisis and together we will come through it.”