My Name is Colin Tebb, I am the chairman of the Essex HMVA and I just wanted to say a couple of words about this important event.
On the 8th of May 2020, we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day - not in the way we had all planned and hoped it would be celebrated - instead, Britain remains in lockdown. What got those in Britain through the second world war was the hope and determination there would be a lasting peace with normality resuming to life, whereas most soldiers just wanted the war to end and to be able to go back to their families.
Of course, VE Day wasn't the end of the second world war, there was still a war in the far east, and some places like the Channel Islands were yet even to be liberated. Many troops would remain in Europe - some for many months. I ask that we all take some time out over these three days to remember all those who never returned, and those who even in Britain lost their lives through bombing or other incidents such as training accidents.
Today, we should ALL celebrate and give thanks knowing that for many now, who may be cut off from family and friends, there will be a similar light at the end of the tunnel and our lives WILL return to normal.
As many of you are likely to be aware, as a charity our aims are to educate, inform and preserve military vehicles and artifacts for future generations. I am sure many of you were lucky enough to be brought up in an age when veterans were alive, and although many never could or would not speak about their wartime experiences, quite often at events they would open up about their lives. Many of our members and I have experienced veterans who visit us at our events and start talking about their military service. In many cases, other family members will say that they have never seen them speak about such times, or they never knew this to be the case. As less and less WW2 veterans remain, we must ensure we do everything we can to preserve their memories and experiences.
We have seen Colonel Tom Moore do remarkable deeds at the age of 100, so I ask you all to enjoy your VE 75 weekend, and celebrate!