Let me clarify that statement. I have enormous respect for anyone who chooses to serve in our Armed Forces. I always pause on Remembrance Sunday to remember the fallen soldiers who protected our freedom during two World Wars. And I give thanks that I live in a country where national service remains optional. But I've really never felt the urge to stand up in public and support our lads for all the killing, and avoidance of killing, that they do. I'll do respect, but I can't do pride.
And yet so many people support our Armed Forces unequivocally. If anybody even mentions 'Our Lads', they're ready with a volley of praise. When there's a foreign war on, they're the ones with a Union Flag fluttering from the bathroom window. And when a platoon of local troops returns from foreign service, they're out on the street cheering everyone back at the homecoming parade. I'm not mocking their pro-military attitude in any way. But I just don't get it myself.
OK, I can understand this reverence if you've been in the forces yourself, or if a member of your family has enlisted and is serving abroad. But what draws folk with no military connections to become devoted flag-wavers for our armed forces? Why do so many follow the tabloid line that Our Lads are to be venerated alongside celebrities and footballers? What is it about this one particular public service that inspires such elevated levels of pride in so many, whereas (for example) our doctors and nurses slog on week after week unrecognised?