Celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of victory in Europe during the Second World War are too important to cancel, veterans minister Graeme Dey has said.
VE Day commemorations planned by veterans groups Poppyscotland and Legion Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government, were moved online due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A virtual service and concert, wreath-laying and a two-minute silence will take place on Friday to mark 75 years since the surrender of Nazi Germany.
The minister said there had been no discussions about cancelling the celebrations, with plans amended quickly to move them online.
He said: “It’s a little bit different to what we had intended.
“That’s a matter of deep regret because we had a considerable event in the pipeline, but we are where we are.
“I think it’s important that we still find an appropriate way to commemorate VE75 and right at the heart of that is recognising the contribution that these surviving veterans made.
“I don’t think you could let a day of such significance pass without marking it, it’s too important a date in history and it’s too important a date for these people who were there at the time.”
The minister also said the need to create a suite of online, accessible events to mark the day represented a “challenge” for the Scottish Government.
He added: “I think that when people see what Poppyscotland and Legion Scotland have put together, they’ll be quite impressed.”
Organisers had hoped as many veterans of the Second World War as possible would have joined the celebrations in Edinburgh, but the day cannot now be marked in person due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dey added: “Deep down, I know that they’ll be really disappointed that we weren’t able to proceed, but there’s also a stoicism about them as well.
“Given what they went through all those years ago, they realise that difficult circumstances arise and you just have to make the best of it.
“In many ways, they’re showing us the way to respond to the current crisis.”
The decision was taken to postpone the face-to-face events “quite early on”, the minister said.
“If you look at the age profile of the veterans and the advice that was there right from the outset for older people, it was quite clear that we couldn’t proceed with the parade, for example,” he added.
However, the minister said he looks forward to rescheduling a celebration for the veterans, although a date has not yet been finalised.
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