VE Day jubilation is proof we will come out of this - SUNDAY EXPRESS COMMENT

There he signed the unconditional surrender of the German military and brought an end to the war in Europe at midnight - though the struggle against the Japanese continued. The day after - the first Victory in Europe (VE) Day - vast crowds gathered across Britain to celebrate, after almost six years of bloodshed, destruction and trauma. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was applauded in Whitehall and people gathered in huge numbers to cheer him and the Royal Family as they waved from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

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There has perhaps never been such a sense of collective joy experienced across this nation, nor such a dark cloud lifted from the world with the defeat of the Nazi ideology.

On Friday we mark the 75th anniversary of that day, but not with the celebrations which had been hoped for and planned.

The last of the veterans will sadly not have their day in the sun to be cheered by the generations they helped save.

Instead, perhaps for the first time in those 75 years since the surrender of Germany, we are again fighting a campaign against a terrible enemy that not only poses a threat to this country but the whole world.

Coronavirus does not drop bombs but is a hidden killer that has already accounted for more than 27,000 lives in Britain alone.

So it is perhaps worth using the anniversary to remember what it was that took Britain from the brink of defeat and despair to victory and relief on that bright spring day in 1945.

The words of Churchill still live with us today after he somehow engineered the rescue of the British Army from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940: "We will fight... we will never surrender."

Revellers in London celebrate VE Day in 1945Revellers in London celebrate VE Day in 1945 (Image: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

It was that iron will which permeated the British psyche in the 1940s, prepared us to accept terrible sacrifice and strengthened us to endure long, dreadful days, whether on the battlefield or under the bombs raining down at home.

The Blitz spirit has kept its meaning in our national consciousness because that is what it meant to be British and that is why ultimately we were able to win.

In many ways what most of us are being asked to do today is much easier.

Instead of packing our knapsacks and picking up a gun to go to some foreign land, flying bombing raids over occupied Europe with no guarantee of returning home, or working in the munitions factories or on the land, we are being asked to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

That does not diminish the sacrifice which many will have to make for that, the loss of normal life and jobs, and those trapped in flats with no gardens or crowded accommodation; it is a much harder ask.

Meanwhile, our "soldiers" now fighting this war are the doctors, nurses, NHS staff and carers who are on the front line risking their lives to defeat this virus.

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Behind the scenes, as was true with the Second World War, we have the research teams and scientists - some of whom have become the generals in this war - trying to find a new weapon, be it a vaccine or a cure, that will ensure victory.

It seems somehow appropriate that the man who has come to symbolise the public's own struggle to defeat the virus is one of the last remaining veterans of the war, Colonel Tom Moore, who has

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