Armed Forces Day celebrations begin in style today with thousands of Armed Forces Day flags being raised across the UK.
Local authorities, town and parish councils and local groups have raised the Armed Forces Day flag, showing their support for our servicemen and women and for the wider Armed Forces community of families, veterans and cadets.
The raising of the Armed Forces Day flag takes place ahead of the national event, which will be held this year in Plymouth on Saturday 30 June in the presence of His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex.
In London, the flag has been raised on various famous landmarks, including government buildings in Whitehall and 10 Downing Street, the City of London Guildhall, and outside the Mayor of London’s office, where Mayor Boris Johnson has also signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant.
Around the country, communities large and small in places that include Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Blackpool and Darlington are flying the flag to show their support.
Overseas, the flag will also be raised for the UK Armed Forces. In Afghanistan, the Armed Forces Day flag is to be proudly hung from UK bases.
The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, said:
Armed Forces Day is now in its fourth year. It has established itself in the calendar as an opportunity for the nation to show support for the Armed Forces.
Flying the [Armed Forces Day] flag is an excellent way to show your support, demonstrating how much we care for our servicemen and women, past and present, who continue to rise to the very difficult challenge of defending this country and our interests.
Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Michael Wright, said:
Plymouth is incredibly proud to be hosting the Armed Forces Day National Event, particularly during such a special year for the United Kingdom.
This is a chance to honour our servicemen and women and pay tribute to their courage, their dedication and the enormous sacrifices they make for each and every one of us.
The raising of the Armed Forces Day flag marks the start of Plymouth’s annual Armed Forces Week, and the countdown to an exciting day of family entertainment and spectacular land, sea and air displays.
We look forward to welcoming serving personnel, veterans, reservists, cadets and their families to our historic waterfront on Saturday, and staging a national celebration to remember.
After today’s flag-raisings, a week of celebrations will take place in the run up to Armed Forces Day on 30 June, with more than 200 events, large and small, planned across the UK.
The main event itself, on Saturday in Plymouth, will see more than 1,200 Service personnel, veterans and cadets parade through the city ahead of a Drumhead service on the historic Plymouth Hoe. A steam-past and gun salute from HMS Argyll in Plymouth Sound and an air show starring the Red Arrows are also planned.
On Wednesday 27 June, some of the 30,000 plus Armed Forces reservists will don their uniforms and travel to work for the annual ‘Wear Your Uniform to Work Day’, with veterans being encouraged to wear their Veterans Badges with pride.
There are many ways the public are encouraged to show their support on Armed Forces Day. These include holding an event - currently more than 200 have been registered on the Armed Forces Day website - and supporting through our Facebook page and Twitter account. You can also show support on Facebook and Twitter by adding our Twibbon to your profile picture.
See Related Links for more information on Armed Forces Day 2012.
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