diamond geezer

 Saturday, June 27, 2009

Today for the first time in the UK, it's Armed Forces Day.
The first Armed Forces Day is 27 June 2009, and is an opportunity for the nation 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 recruits.
And I'm sorry, but I don't care.

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.
• I'VE GOT MY FLAG AND BEERS READY. GOD BLESS ALL OUR TROOPS. (Brian Morgan via Facebook)
• Proud of every one of them. They are not praised enough for what they do or have to put up with. Good Luck to them all. (Sue Jenkins via Facebook)
• Long overdue, having stood and watched an American Vet take their flag down at Disney with MASSIVE support from everyone there its about time UK recognises past and present servicemen. (Mick Warner via Facebook)
• We should all be proud of all our Armed Services. They all do an amazing job and are an inspiration to us all. If only the thugs on the street had half the guts these brave men and women have the world would be a much better place!!! (Gwen Anderson via Facebook)
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?
The military has a great friend in Sun readers - shown in your fantastic response to homecoming parades and the excellent Help for Heroes campaign. I know you'll join me and give the first Armed Forces Day your support, so that it is the success our troops, their families and veterans deserve. (Gordon Brown, writing in today's Sun)
Sorry, but I won't be out at any of today's special events in a show of appreciative congratulation. To be honest I don't see the need for a special Armed Forces Day at all. But thanks for being there all the same.


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