Celebrated at the end of June, Armed Forces Day is nationally observed around the country, with parades and events around the UK. With such a proud military history, it’s only right that we honour the contributions of everyone in the Royal Army, Royal Navy, RAF and the Royal Marines.
The origin of the day is routed in the idea of celebrating veterans’ contributions to their country. The first Armed Forces Days was actually called Veterans’ Day, similar to the holiday of the same name in the USA. It was announced in February of 2006 by then-chancellor Gordon Brown, with the 27th of June chosen as the day of the events. This date has significance; the first Victoria Cross medals were bestowed to servicemen on the same day in 1857.
There were parades in Dundee and Staffordshire, as well as services in Westminster Abbey. Later events would elect a host town to serve as the focal point for national events: 2007 events were held in Birmingham and 2008’s responsibilities went to Blackpool.
In 2009, a major change was announced: to show appreciation for the thousands of active members in the armed forces, the day would henceforth be known as Armed Forces Day. Taking place once again on the 27th, Chatham Dock hosted a huge parade featuring the RAF, Royal Navy and Army. Sir Jock Stirrup, then-Air Chief Marshal, said "People have always appreciated their Armed Forces but we have not always in the past given that appreciation the tangible expression it needs. That's changed over the past few years, and I think this is just a reflection of that."
Over the years even more members of the armed forces have had their contributions highlighted, as the day has grown to a week-long celebration: reserves and cadets now have their own days for their work to be recognised. This shows how the armed forces are more than just troops, sailors and aviators – there’s everyone behind them providing crucial support.
This year’s event will happen on the 25th of June, with Scarborough playing host to the national event on its North and South Bay. Up and down the country, towns, cities and bases will be throwing their own celebrations; you can find your nearest Armed Forces Day event here.
On social media, followers and well-wishers are encourage to #salutetheforces and post videos and pictures of themselves saluting for the armed forces. Forces Cars Direct will be joining in to help flood feeds with love for everyone serving at home and overseas, as well as those who have bravely served in the past.