Armed Forces Day will celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer
North Wales gears up to lead the nation in recognising the contribution of our Armed Forces.
Launched in 2009, Armed Forces Day is gearing up for its 10th year with events across the UK. This year, Armed Forces Day is on Saturday 30 June.
With its origins in Veterans Day (an event held since 2006), Armed Forces Day is a chance for the British public to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets. There are many ways for people, communities and organisations across the country to show their support and get involved www.armedforcesday.org.uk/get-involved, from attending an event to throwing a party or local event.
This year’s National Event will take place in Llandudno, North Wales on Saturday 30 June. Celebrations begin on Monday 25 June when the Armed Forces Day flag is raised on buildings and famous landmarks around the country.
Reserves Day, www.armedforcesday.org.uk/reserves-day on 27 June, will also provide an important opportunity for the country to recognise our Reserve Forces.
Each year a different town or city has the honour of hosting the National Event, becoming a focal point for the day with dozens of smaller events taking place locally across the UK.
The National Event
The National Event in 2018 will be held in Llandudno in North Wales, a region that has many current and historic links to the Armed Forces, including many Regular and Reserve Army units. Many North Walians are proud to serve in the Royal Welsh and nearby RAF Valley on Anglesey is home to a fast jet training base. Nearly 10,000 veterans live in Conwy, supported by a number of local and national charities.
On Saturday 30 June a parade of around 1,000 serving personnel, veterans, cadets and marching bands will signal the start of the Armed Forces Day celebrations.
Activities will take place across the Llandudno waterfront with zones dedicated to all three military services. In these zones military equipment will be showcased ranging from static aircraft to a diving tank plus a variety of tanks, armoured vehicles and many more.
The Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns commented: “I’m delighted that the national Armed Forces Day event will return to Wales in 2018. This time next year, we will see veterans of wars gone by and soldiers serving in conflicts around the world today marching side by side in Llandudno, united in pride in service to their country. In Wales we have a special connection with our Armed Forces and this annual event gives the public an opportunity to show their appreciation and pride for our soldiers, sailors and air personnel who sacrifice so much for others. Our debt of gratitude also extends to the families they leave behind and the veterans past and present who have dedicated years of their lives to service. I am honoured to mark Armed Forces Day today – and in the years to come – in their company.”
But why host such a day in support of our men and women in uniform?
Showing support for the Armed Forces provides a much valued morale boost for troops and their families. The UK Armed Forces defend the UK and her interests 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are busy working around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, providing security and fighting terrorism.
Armed Forces Day brings together people of all ages from all over the UK to publicly thank the members of our Armed Forces for their bravery, their dedication and sacrifices they make for every one of us on a daily basis.
But those who are currently serving are not the complete extent of the Armed Forces community that this day seeks to recognise. Cadets, Veterans, Reservists are also represented.
Our Armed Forces couldn’t do their job without the incredible support of their family and friends, and Armed Forces Day rightly recognises their contribution.
Although this year’s National Event will take place in North Wales, regional celebrations will also be held across the country, giving the public a chance to say “Thank you” to the Armed Forces for their contribution to the nation.
In 2017, more than 300 Armed Forces Day celebrations were held across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. More than 130 of these were supported with funding from the Ministry of Defence.
To help event organisers put together a day of celebrations, up to £10,000 of funding is available. In previous years this funding has helped to fund hundreds of events from large community displays to school talks and small family fun days.
There will also be events in the week leading up to Armed Forces Day, most notably Reserves Day on Wednesday 21 June. The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces personnel and as such are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas, particularly in providing capability in specialist areas such as medical and cybersecurity.
Reservists are currently supporting operations worldwide including in Afghanistan, Northern Iraq, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
However, the contribution they make to our Armed Forces often goes unrecognised. As such an annual Reserves Day was created to highlight and recognise the valuable contribution Reservists make to our Armed Forces.