A shared history event to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII is due to be broadcast on social media on Saturday 15 August, Victory over Japan (VJ) Day.
The online event, hosted by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, was pre-recorded earlier this week in front of a small invite-only audience, in strict compliance with Covid-19 restrictions. The online nature of the event means that an unlimited number of people can join to watch from home.
The broadcast date coincides with the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, when victory over Japan marked an end to World War II. While VE Day in May 1945 marked an end to the war in Europe, many personnel were still posted in the Asia-Pacific region, with bitter fighting taking place right until the end. Many local people from all backgrounds and walks of life were held as Japanese prisoners of war, and the stories of their experiences still haunt their families to this day.
Lord Mayor Councillor Kevin Savage commented “Shared history events are important for a divided society, and we hope that by embracing social media and digital technology we can attract wider audiences comprised of people who – for various reasons – might not normally attend such an event in person.
“With Covid-19 still very much a concern at the moment, we are hoping to run more online events like these to ensure we’re minimising the risk to our residents while still offering the excellent events we’re known for, albeit in a slightly different way.”
The online commemoration event will be broadcast live on Facebook on Saturday 15 August from 11-11:30am, including a lecture from renowned historian Dr Eamon Phoenix, poetry reading by Richard Edgar and musical accompaniment from piper Ian Burrows. To watch the event from home, visit Facebook.com/armaghbanbridgecraigavon. A recording of the event will be available afterwards for those who are unable to watch it live. Dr Éamon Phoenix has also written a short local history of the period which is available here: VJ DAY – NORTHERN IRISH AND LOCAL LINKS WITH THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE PACIFIC 1939-45
This event has been funded by the council’s Good Relations Programme through The Executive Office.