Hundreds turn out to VJ Day services to mark 70th anniversary
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of people turned out to services across the area over the weekend to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory over Japan day.
Although Victory in Europe was declared on May 8, 1945, it was not until August 15 of the same year – now known as VJ Day – that the Second World War was effectively over as Japan surrendered to the Allies.
Now 70 years on, services were held in the town centres of Hitchin, Letchworth and Stevenage on Saturday, as well as in Arlesey, Shefford and St Paul’s Walden, to remember those who fought.
In Stevenage, deputy mayor John Lloyd helped lead a service alongside members of the town’s Royal British Legion branch, with a two-minute silence held at 11am.
The Stevenage Sea Cadets played Reveille, followed by a moving tribute to those who fought in the Second World War read by Councillor Lloyd, and a blessing by Rev Christopher Bunce.
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Mr Lloyd said: “The short service brought our community together and allowed everyone to show their respect to those who fought and lost their lives for victory over Japan.
“The hundreds of people who joined us in Town Square came to thank them and celebrate the role they played in our nation’s history.”
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Stevenage Poppy Appeal organiser and RBL member Richard Mott said: “A lot of people came to the Town Square commemorative service to show their respect to those who fought and died to bring an end to six years of war.
“The war affected everyone, including a lot of Stevenage people, so it is vital that we show our support to these war veterans.”
Letchworth town centre also hosted a service at the Station Road war memorial, before ‘A Day of Nostalgia’ took place in the afternoon. The Arcade was filled with activities, with children able to join a free tea party, get balloon animals made and colour their own war time medals. Also, thanks to Herts at War, people of all ages had the opportunity to handle military objects such as rifles and hand grenades.
There were also vintage stalls and music in Leys Square, with lindy hop dancers leading the way.
Love Letchworth’s events organiser Maija Lama said: “It was really fantastic to see people of all ages enjoying the day.
“Special thanks must go to the town centre businesses who got involved, the Royal British Legion and Herts at War. We hope this will become an annual event and would love to hear from people who would like to get involved in making it bigger and better – just email email@example.com.”