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I am really pleased that flying over the Civic Centre in Harlow, at the moment, is the English Flag of St George. I am pleased that the council is publicly showing support for our boys as they battle at the World Cup.

Even prouder am I, now that the Armed Forces flag is flying above the Civic Centre, supporting our Boys and Girls battling in a much more dangerous way so far from home.

Ever more bittersweet this lunchtime as I heard of the 300th death our troops have suffered in the conflict in Afghanistan.

We are flying the Armed Forces flag this week to celebrate Armed Forces Day on the 26th June (the day in 1857 of the first investiture of the Victoria Cross) and so we jolly well should.

Regardless of your view on the conflict in Afghanistan or Iraq, I hope we can all agree that those in the armed forces who put their lives on the line day after day in support of the country deserve the countries support!

It is a sad society where some places, towns, people show little or no respect to those who risk their lives to provide freedom to the people of the British Isles, and indeed freedom for our friends in other countries.

That is why people and towns need to make a difference. We can’t all be Wootton Bassett, but we need to keep faith with our Armed Forces and make their celebration part of everyday life.

Nothing wrenched my gut quite like my daughter the other month, when in a supermarket and spying a gentleman in Army Dress Uniform said “look mummy daddy its one of the brave ones!”

I hope by the celebration of Armed Forces Day, by big events or just by “Flying the Flag” more young people will grow up with a greater appreciation of what our Armed Forces do for all of us.

In the meantime Harlow Council continues to promote the charity Help for Heroes , as they provide direct support for those wounded in conflict, with a collection box and wrist band sale on our main desk in the reception area.


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