Saturday, 25 June 2011
A Sign Of The Times
Today is Armed Forces Day which is an American idea Gordon Brown decided to import back in 2009.
The website states: 'It's an opportunity to do two things. Firstly to raise public awareness of the contribution made to our country by those who serve and have served in HM Armed Forces. Secondly it gives the nation an opportunity to show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families and from veterans to cadets'.
Is it necessary to have a 'show' for the people to appreciate our military? In Andover there are some who don't. The talk on ARSSE is that this story has been concocted (surely not!) and the banners were erected against council rules.
This year's host city for the national event is Edinburgh. The great and the good will be vying for front seats during the weekend. Here's one lady who certainly should be honoured with a seat right at the front - although I doubt if she's had an invitation -along with the hundreds of veterans who quietly live their lives without expecting thanks. As many have said to me over the years (I'm paraphrasing): 'I need no thanks. I'm just grateful I had the opportunity to work alongside such reliable, honourable and trustworthy colleagues.' How many of us can say we've had jobs where everyone had these qualities?
This country has changed greatly since I was young - in many ways for the good, but not always. The Edinburgh event is being policed in a vast operation comparable to last year's papal visit and other such grand events, because there's the possibility that some visitors may not be attending to show their respect.
It's a sad state of affairs when the police have to come out in such numbers to protect our armed forces.
Update: Mention should be made of Alex Salmond's announcement of a bursary for the children of members of the military who were killed in action. Sometimes, if a service family lives in military quarters, then not only lose their loved one but their home and this creates even greater pressure on the parent left behind. It will be welcomed by all Scots who are associated by the military.