Armed Forces Day to get underway in the UK

Saturday, June 27, 2009

British Armed Forces personnel on parade at Wembley StadiumImage: Staff Sgt. Jocelyn L. Rich.

The United Kingdom’s first Armed Forces Day is set to get underway later today. Previously called Veteran’s Day, it was changed by the government in an effort to raise awareness and understanding. The day is meant for the public to show their appreciation to the armed forces of the UK, their families and veterans.

a celebration of the armed forces in all of their glory

Her Majesty the Queen sent a message to all British servicemen to thank them for their contributions and the risks they take. Major celebrations are due to be held around the country, in cities including Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester and Plymouth.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said the day should be “a celebration of the armed forces in all of their glory, not just what they do while they’re in service”. During his first trip to Afghanistan he went on to say that young soldiers said that, “They were telling me at that time that they didn’t tend to talk about what they had been up to because people weren’t interested. I just thought that that was so depressing. Now you can see lots of organisations – small businesses, large businesses, communities – trying to show their appreciation. And it is just phenomenally important. It’s a huge improvement on the situation that was existing a couple of years ago.”

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