I have to share this, written by my friend Joseph, and for more info, check this here.
(2) How to show a heart-felt gratitude?
Almost immediately after WW2 several communities of the former Occupied countries of Western Europe showed their gratitude towards those from over the Channel who had helped liberate them. For example, the care and maintenance of the graves of those who gave their lives in the liberation of Europe is well noted as a matter of honour for communities in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and other lands. Many young lives were lost during the war, and not just civilians or soldiers and airmen from the Allied countries.
The gratitude of liberation in the former Occupied counties also extends to the care of the graves of the many young lives lost from the lands of the former Axis powers. While not forgetting what had happened, the world was beginning to move forward to a better and more peaceful time.
Some communities in continental Europe named public buildings, streets or public parks after those who had helped liberate them. On the anniversary dates of key events, many places have welcomed back former wartime veterans, their families and friends as long-lost friends with whom one has a deep, unbreakable bond.
Yet, in Britain which had not had to suffer Occupation, while they were grateful that the former wartime veterans had were not feted or recognised anywhere near the level they were in continental Europe. For many years, in Britain the anniversaries of events such as the Dunkirk evacuation, the Normandy Landings or V.E. Day tended to be remembered by associations of former veterans and friends. Perhaps they were better able to understand the significance of these anniversaries.
Gradually, however the situation has changed. One can point to the marking of the 50th anniversary of V.E. Day (1995) by a Bank Holiday in Britain. Particularly since that time there has been an increasing interest of people wanting to mark the key anniversaries of the war or to learn first hand the stories of wartime veterans. For example, the major BBC "People's War" project involved people of all ages and from all over the world. Another example one can point to was the introduction of a 'Veteran's Badge' by the British Government for surviving veterans of the armed forces.
For some years, interested individuals have campaigned for surviving wartime veterans to be formally recognised and honoured by their own communities. This, of course, would have to be agreed by locally elected representatives. The West Cumbrian council area of Copeland Borough Council is one such local area that has formally recognised the surviving wartime veterans of the armed forces, existing members of the armed forces and the cadet forces. This was done in two stages in 2010 and 2011.