The flag to honour the Armed Forces in Somerset is being raised on Monday 22 June by Somerset County Council Chair Councillor Nigel Taylor outside County Hall in Taunton.
He will be joined – with social distancing observed – by Council Leader David Fothergill, Councillor Rod Williams, who chairs the Somerset Armed Forces Covenant Partnership and Council Chief Executive Pat Flaherty.
Armed Forces Day will be marked on Saturday 27 June and although people may not be able to come together physically to mark it this year, there are many ways that supporters can join in and celebrate at home.
Councillor Taylor said: “At times like this terrible pandemic, when so many are helping fellow members of society, it is essential that we remember those members of our Armed Forces who stand ready in both war and peace to support our nation.
“Armed Forces week gives us a dedicated benchmark which we can look towards and thank all branches of our Armed Forces who stand united to protect the realm. Many are playing their part at testing centres, for the benefit of society, or delivering urgent supplies or food packages to our communities.
“In times of war, or in a peacekeeping role, they stand four-square to protect others. Now, please join me in spending some time to recognise their service, their selflessness and their loyalty, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Councillor Williams said: “Our men and women in the Armed Forces carry a responsibility that no-one else in our country does. Their job, if necessary, is to fight and win. When we think of them on operations, we can be sure they will do their bit for us. Please give them your support so that we do our bit for them.”
Somerset has a long history of Armed Forces based in the county including the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton and 40 Commando Royal Marines, based at Norton Manor Camp, near Taunton.
This year marks a poignant anniversary for 40 Commando as it is 10 years since the unit lost 14 men in just 85 days of conflict in Afghanistan. Memorial services have been held at Norton Manor Camp to mark the occasion.
The County Council leads the Somerset Armed Forces Covenant Partnership which brings together charities, local authorities, other public sector organisations, businesses, communities, individuals and the military in a pledge of support between local residents and the Armed Forces community in Somerset. There’s more information here: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/libraries-leisure-and-communities/somerset-armed-forces-covenant-partnership/
Wessex Reserved Forces and Cadets Association (RCFA) has helped to organise two virtual Armed Forces Day Events. You can find and join the events at: https://www.facebook.com/WessexRFCA/events/?ref=page_internal One is for the region and the second is for Yeovil and surrounding areas which is being hosted by Love Yeovil, Yeovil Chamber, RNAS Yeovilton and Wessex RFCA.
Armed Forces Day has compiled ideas on how people can celebrate virtually this year – details can be found here: https://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/about/