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War vets back day off plan

PUBLISHED: 16:17 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:47 23 August 2010

VETERANS are backing plans to create a national armed forces day featuring parades and events across the country. This month a government-commissioned study called the National Recognition of the Armed Forces was published in a bid to improve the publi

VETERANS are backing plans to create a national armed forces day featuring parades and events across the country.

This month a government-commissioned study called the 'National Recognition of the Armed Forces' was published in a bid to improve the public perception of the military.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown asked Labour MP Quentin Davies to carry out the study last December to find a way of building greater public understanding of the armed forces.

Nick White, 50, of Goodwood Crescent, Gravesend, served in the Royal Logistic Corps for 23 years and also completed two tours of Northern Ireland.

He said: "They have been on about this for quite a while. I went to the event they had in Hyde Park the year before last and a lot of people turned up for that.

"If that sort of thing happened all round the country then I think it might do some good for the armed forces so long as people use that day to remember the forces and don't just treat it as an extra holiday."

Albert Bennett, 93, of Tudor Close, Dartford, served in the 155 Spitfire Squadron in the Far East in WWII.

He said: "I think it would be a marvellous idea. It would be a great thing to do. We had the veterans' day some time ago and I think it would be great to have a holiday every year."

If it were to go ahead, the report recommends that Armed Forces and Veterans' Day take place on the last Saturday in June so that children and working adults would be free to attend events.

The date would place the holiday in the opposite half of the year to Remembrance Sunday but Mr White says it is important that the two days are not in competition with one another.

He said: "My one concern is that it might take some of the focus away from Remembrance Sunday. That is sacred and has got to be in most people's minds."

"There are always a few buts, but anything that raises the profile of the armed forces has got to be good."

Other measures recommended by the report included holding more homecoming parades for returning troops, getting more schools involved with cadet forces and encouraging troops to wear uniforms in public.

The Ministry of Defence said it welcomed the report, and would respond in detail to its recommendations.

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