Anti-war protesters are planning to ruin Britain’s 2014 National Armed Forces Day event. The event at Stirling Castle is the national celebration of the contribution the armed forces make to British life.
The sixth annual event will take place on Saturday at Stirling Castle and will coincide with opening of a new Battle of Bannockburn visitors centre. The organisers of the event, the Royal British Legion, describe it as: “An opportunity to do two things. Firstly, to raise public awareness of the contribution made to our country by those who serve and have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
“Secondly, it gives the nation an opportunity to Show Your Support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families and from veterans to cadets.”
But Scottish Peace Network are organising a demonstration to undermine the event. The convenor Eric Chester told the Morning Star that activists from across the country would converge on Stirling to challenge the “insensitive and ill-timed” spectacle.
He went on to say that the event was “ignoring” the “enormous” number of civilians killed in conflict such as Iraq and Afghanistan. “This is why a display like Armed Forces Day is so deeply insensitive and ill-timed,” he said.
The Royal British Legion, which is a charity that looks after current and former service personnel, began National Armed Forces Day as a result of concerns that the plight of the armed forces were being ignored. Last year it was held in Nottingham and was attended by 100,000 people.
Civilians killed in wars are commemorated in a large number of memorials and events up and down the country. There is also a database of memorials so that relatives and friends can find the location of the monument to their loved ones.
National Armed Forces Day was also criticised in the Morning Star for being a celebration, but this is the intention of the event, so that current and former servicemen are given a spectacle befitting their contribution. It is in sharp contrast to the sombre Remembrance Sunday events that commemorate the war dead.
When Stirling was chosen as the venue for this years event Scotland Veterans Minister, Keith Brown, told the Scotsman newspaper: “I am delighted that the UK Armed Forces Day event is coming to Stirling and returning to Scotland so soon after it was held in Edinburgh in 2011.
“That was a magnificent event and this gives a further opportunity for people across Scotland to show how much they support and appreciate the selfless service of our servicemen and women.”
It is unclear how many protesters will turn up but they expected to be a tiny fraction of the number of people from right across the United Kingdom who will come to honour the troops.