A special day for the armed forces?

May 19, 2008

rtx4zmo-soldier.jpgShould Britain follow the lead of other countries and hold an annual Armed Forces Day?

The recommendation comes in a report commissioned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

It says the public is growing dangerously divorced from the military because of falling awareness of what it does.

For example, RAF personnel were told not to wear their uniform in parts of Peterborough because of abuse from members of the public.

An annual day to celebrate the armed forces as well as veterans could include parades, and special events, with sports matches taking on a “military flavour”, the report, by Conservative MP Quentin Davies says.

And it would ideally be held on a Saturday at the end of June so that children and working adults could attend events.

A good idea? Or an anachronism we can do without? What do you think?


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Since the military stopped wearing uniform in public due to the threat it posed by exposing members of the Armed Forces’ identities to the Northern Ireland terrorist threat, soldiers, airmen and sailors have become increasingly alienated from the public. The civilian population of Britain have no way to relate to the military because more often than not, the only time the latter are ever seen is on the other side of a television or a printed page. We, the military, need to be more a part of society, we need to get to the point that people are not surprised, disdainful, or heaven forbid, afraid, to see a military uniform on the tube or bus. People need to feel that their military are equally citizens of this country and are living amongst them. A national Armed Forces day could only support and add to this change in attitude and national feeling.

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

It is currently a disgrace the way we treat our armed forces, especially those who return injured or who die in the name of this country.
The modern military are not “cannon fodder”, they are highly skilled and motivated individuals. We ask a lot of them. Is it not right that we should respect and honour them all of the time, not just one day a year?

Posted by D Campbell | Report as abusive

These new proposals would seem more familiar in nazi germany than in “democratic britain”. From other news sources I hear proposals of victory parades (imperial rome?)and parades at sports grounds, increased recruiting in schools where young, maleable minds, already convinced that the army is simply a game thanks to video games and tv advertisements which resemble these violent games quite closely (coincidence?)and a day to celebrate all this killing is surely ridiculous.
Surely all this does is glorify the military and fuel nationalism which has no place in today’s globalised world. The army is not about glory, it’s about killing and robbing poorer nations, carrying on with imperialist agendas announced by politicians whose actions would be more suited to nineteenth century colonial britain.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

No doubt we’d be offending certain “communities” if we said who the people were who were abusing RAF personnel in uniform… Anybody want to take a wild guess? No prizes of course.

Having said that, and as a staunch supporter of our armed forces, I nevertheless find the idea of an armed forces day absolutely ghastly – possibly the most un-British any government could possibly do. They’ll be having parades of tanks and missiles through the streets of London next (cheering and flag-waving compulsory) – it doesn’t even bear thinking about.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

One has to wonder why a Saturday in June? Surely the obvious and far away most valid choice would be 11/11, it is a travesty that the sacrifices of both our armed forces and civilians during two world wars go unmarked with a bank holiday yet we have one for irrelevances such as the first Monday in may.

I must say I’m rather in favour of a day to honour the armed forces their sacrifices and the work they do – which is less to do with force of arms today than ever before – yes there would be significant risk of it becoming jingoistic but one has to wonder if that risk is any greater than the already prevailing reality witch sees no national pride amongst much of society.

Most of those communities likely to be offended by a celebration of Britain’s armed forces have them to thank for their existence today and their right to exist in British society. Without those freedoms for which the British military has fought over hundreds of years we would be a very different place. One dreads to think what the world would look like if Britain – through strength of arms and the sacrifices of our armed forces – had not stood up to the European despots.

Without the Royal Navy slavery would quite possibly still be in full swing in much of the world. Britain has made her mistakes but we should not be ashamed of celebrating her success for that.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

If this proposal was intended to honour the military who defend us, I would say Yes, but the time to introduce it was after one or other of the World Wars. Since it was not considered necessary then it certainly is not necessary now. Britain already has, in the practical sense, an “Armed Forces Day”, which is Armistice Day.

The fact that the proposal is supported by a Quisling government which has done more than any other including the Third Reich to destroy the UK turns the stomach.

Posted by Mike T | Report as abusive

Gordon Brown is dangerously divorced from the public.
National day of mourning?

Posted by harry | Report as abusive

The problem we have here is that the Government are trying to whip up nationalistic and jingoistic support for the Armed Forces in order to justify its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Any overt support for the Armed Forces will be claimed by the Government to be popular support for its wars. I served 12 years in the Armed Forces (and have two campaign medals to prove it), but I do not support the Armed Forces in their invasions and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and no stupid Government Minister will ever make me support them.

Posted by Neil | Report as abusive

I am a current serving member of the H.M Forces, i am sure i am not the only one who just wishes that the UK public would merely support the UK troops for just doing the job that they are asked to do by the government, i am sure most serving members are not in full agreement of why we are in certain countries but all the same we don’t complain and just get on with it, we do our jobs and do them well.
However i am not sure i would wish to spend a day marching about when i could be spending that time with family so maybe it is the wrong way to go about getting support for us.
At the end of the day just support US if not the people that we are doing it for and try to remember YOU have elected them into government!
Take a tip from the Americans for example most Americans dont support the action overseas but ALL support their fellow countryman.

Posted by anonymous | Report as abusive