Armed Forces Day 2013

This year will mark the fifth annual Armed Forces Day.

The object of this day is to raise public awareness and show national support for the contribution made to our country by those who serve in the Armed Forces. It is not only a tribute to current serving members of the armed forces but also a time to remember and pay tribute to the service men and women of the past and service families.

The National Event is taking place in Nottingham this weekend, and there are numerous other events taking place up and down the country.

Jon Cruddas MP commented: “Saturday 29th June marks the fifth annual Armed Forces day and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all our service personnel around the world who do a magnificent job on our behalf. Our thoughts are also with the families of those serving who go through an immense amount of stress and worry while their loved ones are away. Our Armed Forces, past and present, allow us to carry on our lives as normal thanks to the amazing bravery they show on a daily basis and for that we are exceptionally grateful.”

Barking and Dagenham has a long history of championing our armed forces, recognising the huge commitments they make. The local Council along with others across the country recently introduced the ‘Veterans Champion’ initiative which is a specific position dedicated to help provide ex-service men and women with a smooth transition from military to civilian life. Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary recently came to Barking and Dagenham and met with Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Council Leader Liam Smith and Deputy Leader Rocky Gill to launch the campaign. Council Leader Liam Smith will be taking on the extra role personally to oversee the progress of the campaign in the local area.

Jon commented: “Initiatives such as this underline our country’s respect and goodwill towards the Armed Services. It is wrong that someone who has served in our forces is expected to join the back of the queue at the local job centre; and in many cases return from serving the country to find themselves homeless. This is not about special treatment but overcoming barriers to provide a level playing field for service people.”

Streets named after fallen heroes

The Labour Party is currently promoting a policy for local authorities which offers families of fallen service personnel from their area a chance to have a street or road named after their loved one. Such lasting recognition, if this were the wishes of the family, could be a poignant way of demonstrating the community’s admiration for those who serve and the value the whole country places on their courage and patriotism.

This idea is based on the current practice of Barking and Dagenham Council, who have had two streets named after individuals who have died in the line of duty and a third is soon to be named in this way. On each occasion Barking and Dagenham consult bereaved families and also offer the chance to have an opening ceremony, to which community members, service charities and members of the military are invited.

Cheaper travel for veterans

There is currently a national scheme calling on train operating companies to look into extending concessionary travel for the Armed Forces to UK veterans.  Currently the HM Forces Railcard saves service personnel a third on rail fares. Labour is proposing this is extended to the 332,826 veterans who are on the Armed Forces Pension Scheme.

You can find out more about the work our armed forces are involved in via the Ministry of Defence website: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/Home/

To learn more about National Armed Forces Day and how to get involved in future events follow this link: http://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/

More details on the event at Valence House can be found on the council’s website:www.lbbd.gov.uk/armedforcesday<http://www.lbbd.gov.uk/armedforcesday