| 26 June 2013
Armed Forces Day celebrations began in style, Monday of this when thousands of Armed Forces Day flags were raised across the country to mark the beginning of a week of celebrations taking place in the run up to the main event on Saturday 29 June.
Nottingham, host city for this year’s national event, flew their flag in spectacular fashion when four Servicemen parachuted into famous local landmark Wollaton Hall, trailing the Armed Forces Day flag, together with the flags of the Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Air Force.
Upon arrival at the entrance to Wollaton Hall the Armed Forces Day flag was given to three veterans representing each of the Services, who in turn passed it on to a group of cadets. The cadets then paraded the flag a short distance before presenting it to the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Merlita Bryan who raised it in front of Wollaton Hall.
Councillor Bryan said: “Nottingham is incredibly proud to be hosting the Armed Forces Day national event. The day is an opportunity to honour our Servicemen and women and pay tribute to their dedication and the enormous sacrifices they make on our behalf.”
Brigadier Harry Nickerson, Commanding Officer of locally-based 49 Brigade, was also present at the Wollaton Hall flag-raising. He said,
“It is a great honour for me to be helping to start the celebrations for Armed Forces Day here at Wollaton Hall, appropriately with a parachute drop, as Wollaton was home to the American 82nd Airborne Division during the Second World War.
“Armed Forces Day gives the nation an opportunity to show their support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community, and we are very grateful to Nottingham for taking the lead this year and hosting the national event in their historic city, with its proud military heritage.”
In London, special ceremonies were held at City Hall, where the flag was raised by Mayor of London Boris Johnson. At the City of London Guildhall, the Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Roger Gifford, raised the Armed Forces Day flag witnessed by representatives from all London-based Armed Forces units. The flag has also been raised at famous landmarks and Government buildings including the Ministry of Defence, and 10 Downing Street. Around the country Local Authorities, town and parish councils and communities large and small are also flying the Armed Forces Day flag, showing their support for our Servicemen and women, and for the wider Armed Forces community of families, veterans and cadets.
Chief of the Defence Staff Sir David Richards said: "Armed Forces Day is an opportunity for the nation to show its backing for the Armed Forces. We are all grateful for all the support you give us. It makes a difference to every soldier, sailor and airman to know that you value them. ’Flying the Flag' is a symbol for all to see that the public care for our Servicemen and women, past and present, who continue to rise to the very difficult challenge of defending this country and its interests."