‘We cannot forget the joy of liberation and what it meant’

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Timothy Le Cocq struck an optimistic tone in his speech, describing how far the Island had come since the pandemic started last year and how he hoped ‘in 12 months’ time you will be celebrating with me in and around Liberation Square’.

May 1945 is still a real memory for a number of Islanders, he said, including for Barbara Jouanny, the Face of Liberation commemorated in last year’s ArtHouse Jersey community art project.

Mr Le Cocq said: ‘It is important we preserve these memories and those of others so we can continue the values and qualities of duty, service and community that characterised their generation.’

In a pre-recorded speech broadcast yesterday morning, the Bailiff also paid tribute to the Armed Forces and their ambassador Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died last month.

Mr Le Cocq said: ‘One of the lessons we have been reminded of over the last months is the importance of community, and perhaps today and in the forthcoming months we may focus on what this day means and can mean to us all, living, as we do, in this culturally rich and multi-faceted community.’

The Bailiff said as Islanders were unable to gather to celebrate, ‘so, as those here during the Occupation did, we make the best of what is possible for us and we meet remotely and virtually’.

Noirmont Point and its German fortifications, where Mr Le Cocq recorded his speech, were an ‘important reminder of the realities of occupation’, he said. St Aubin’s Bay, behind him as he spoke, was the site of the formal surrender of the German forces and ‘setting of our Liberation’, he added. Standing on the headland, the Bailiff said he was ‘inevitably reminded of the important part the Armed Forces have played in our Island story’. He said Prince Philip was ‘a man who exemplified many of the qualities of the wartime generation’ and an ‘interested and welcome visitor to the Island’.

The Island was grateful to the Armed Forces ‘then and now’, he said.

Mr Le Cocq added that he hoped next year could make up for ‘what we were not able to do’ for Liberation 75.

He said: ‘This time last year Covid had been with us for a matter of months. It seems now that, in Jersey, we are on a pathway to reclaiming a far more recognisable life than we have had over the last year or so.’

Mr Le Cocq said the experiences and lessons of the Occupation should never be forgotten. He said: ‘We cannot forget the hardship endured, those who lost their lives and, for some, toiled in terrible conditions. We cannot forget the joy of liberation and what it meant for those looking to a future with hope and optimism. All must be remembered.

‘It is our island day, our national day, and it is now and should be about what it is to be “Jersey”, to be a part of this vibrant community.’

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