THE flying of the Armed Forces Flag from Leicester’s Town Hall will mark the start of a very different annual event in honour of our serving forces, veterans and cadets.
This year, the annual service of thanksgiving at Leicester Cathedral and parade through the city centre will not take place due to coronavirus and people are being asked to show their support in different ways.
The city and county councils, together with the Lieutenancy Office and local armed forces units, have developed a range of online resources to help celebrate Armed Forces Day. These include footage and images from past parades, information about local armed forces units, tips on how to take a salute and a poster that people can print and display in their windows to show support in the run-up to Armed Forces Day.
People across Leicester are also supporting the national #SaluteOurForces campaign by posting images or video of themselves, colleagues, family members and friends taking the salute in tribute.
The Armed Forces flag will be raised at Leicester Town Hall on Monday 22 June to mark the start of national Armed Forces Week. It will fly until dusk on National Armed Forces Day, which this year takes place on Saturday 27 June.
The Lord Mayor of Leicester Cllr Annette Byrne said: “Armed Forces Day is an important opportunity to show our support to all the men and women who serve their country to keep us safe.
“It is a huge disappointment that we are not able to mark this event with our annual service and parade this year, but I am sure many people will join the national campaign to pay tribute safely from their homes.”
Leicester’s armed forces champion Cllr Vi Dempster has strong connections to the armed forces. Both her parents served in the Second World War.
Cllr Dempster said: “It is a great pity that we cannot honour our armed forces in our usual way but it is encouraging to see that we can still come together across the country to show our support. The men and women who serve in the armed forces do incredible work and we will always remain in their debt for their service and sacrifice.”
Leicester has a longstanding relationship with local units of the armed forces with both the Royal Lancers and Royal Anglian Regiments having been granted the freedom of the city of Leicester.
The city and county councils are both signatories to the Armed Forces Covenant, which sets out the two authorities’ relationship with the armed forces and the services available to the current and former personnel and their families.
The main digital celebrations for Armed Forces Day 2020 – including details about the #SaluteOurForces campaign and a gallery of images supporting it – can be found at www.leicestershire.gov.uk/armed-forces-day