So, once again the nation pauses to thank the men and women of our armed forces. Of course, for veterans, every day is Armed Forces Day just as every day is Remembrance Day which seems now to begin in January….but let’s not get too misty-eyed about it. After all, we all volunteered.
We joined for many different reasons; a sense of duty and patriotism? Sure, but there were and continue to be many others such as escape, adventure, unemployment, hopes of a career, a need to belong and family traditions. Any or perhaps all of these led us to take the shilling (though for the benefit of HMRC, they don’t actually give you the shilling).
I know many, perhaps hundreds of serving and former servicemen and women (although I may not admit knowing some of them!) Of all these warriors, there are but a handful who would have changed a thing. Service life asks a great deal, it may even ask you to risk your life, it will certainly demand that you spend long periods of time away from the people you love and to live in uncomfortable and often unpleasant places.
Service life takes a great deal. Service life also gives a great deal more.
Friends, comradeships that will last for life. Experience, not always nice but always memorable and a chance to be part of something bigger than just an individual. Of course, this should not prevent anyone from buying a serviceman a pint or letting them know that you appreciate what they do, some service men and women are heroes, most are not, some need help, most do not.
Giving a Soldier, Sailor or Airman a job is not an act of charity, it is a sound investment. Service folk add much more than they take. So, let’s enjoy Armed Forces Day, let’s gasp in admiration at the pageantry and tales of daring do. When the Red Arrow roar fades and the bunting sags remember that tomorrow may not be assured but it is safer because of our peerless armed forces.
Pimento Connection is a Veteran Owned company. We salute our brothers and sisters in arms.
Cliff Allum MBE