Sir: Celebrate? Commemorate? Remember? Do we really need to be told how to behave ourselves on VE Day?
Most of us who remember VE Day have one thing in common. We were young. Young enough to have ideals and to believe in the future. Why are we not allowed to celebrate the day as we remember it then?
I was 17 in 1945. Although too young to have served in the Forces, the war had affected me: a miserable period of evacuation from London and an education ended before my 14th birthday. We all shared in the events of those days: the battles, the casualties; raids over Germany and the cold finality of "15 of our aircraft failed to return". We ate food that men risked their lives to bring.
But on VE Day we had something to celebrate. Good men had triumphed. Yes, even Stalin, the man responsible for more deaths than Hitler, was a good man then. We saw cooperation in building a new world; no more wars, no more poverty. Utopia was there for the taking! How could we know that VE Day would see the beginning of a Cold War, oppression in Eastern Europe, bitterness and hatred that would exist 50 years on.
So I remember VE Day as a day of happiness. Outside Buckingham Palace we waved and shouted until we were hoarse. We cheered every movement in the palace, every twitch of the curtains. Goodness knows how many under footmen felt like kings for a day!
Glorious innocence? Pathetic naivety? It was a day when it was good to be alive and that is what I am going to remember.
28 AprilReuse content