Thursday, September 09, 2010

Salute to the Brave

Today it was the turn of The Rifles to exercise the Freedom of the Borough granted to them last year. Their losses in Afghanistan have been heavy and residents of the borough and beyond turned out to welcome them and thank them. This was a very different parade to that of the Yorkshire Regiment earlier in the summer. The Rifles don't fly colours and as an infantry regiment didn't parade armoured vehicles. Somehow, that emphasised the dangers they face. There are photos on the Council's site and as I forgot to take my camera that's where you'll have to look.
Afterwards, at the reception, it was striking to hear such articulate young men talking about their life in the army, the training camps, the work in Afghanistan and so on. A professional army is certainly different from a conscripted one.
It was obvious from conversations that the soldiers recognise that even those of us who think that the "war on terror" is one of the biggest political mistakes of the past 50 years support the work they are trying to do now to bring it to an end and recognise that they can only do what the politicians decide they must.

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