By Mike Kapur, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire
On November 11th, at 11:00am, the nation will fall silent in remembrance of the Army, Navy and Air Force personnel who have given their lives in service to their country. In the run up to this important national commemoration, I have been reflecting on the vital role the Armed Forces play within our City and County. As Lord-Lieutenant, Remembrance Day is one of the most important duties I fulfil- the role of Lord-Lieutenant originated as a military position, and the Lieutenancy’s links with the Armed Forces remain strong to this day.
In June each year, Armed Forces Week provides an opportunity to celebrate all those who have served and continue to serve with the British Army, Navy and Air Force, and their families. Across the City and County, the Armed Forces Flag was raised to demonstrate our thanks to those who serve and have served in the Armed Forces. The Lieutenancy plays a leading role in these celebrations, and it is always an honour for me to be able to meet with members of our Armed Forces to express appreciation for their service.
To mark Armed Forces Day, we held an outdoor ceremony on 25th June, following a parade through Leicester City by members of our forces, veterans, and cadets. This was a “Drumhead” service, during which regimental drums and colours are formed into an altar. This type of service is held in the field, and was especially used during World War I. The altar provided a moving reminder of those who have served in our Armed Forces in the past, and of our current personnel who continue to risk their lives for our freedoms.
This year, the service was open to all, and it was particularly touching to see people from across our City and County gathering to watch the parade and thanking the members of our Armed Forces for their commitment to the protection of the United Kingdom. Next year’s Armed Forces Day parade and Open-Air Service will be taking place on 24th June 2023; I hope that you can join us to show our appreciation for the brave work of our servicemen and women.
On a more solemn note, in November we will celebrate Remembrance Day, on which we remember the fallen and recognise the immense sacrifices undertaken by our Armed Forces, both in the two World Wars and in other conflicts. Through Remembrance services, parades by Armed Forces personnel, or even the simple act of wearing a poppy, we keep the Armed Forces close to our hearts.
Services to commemorate and remember the fallen will be taking place across the City and County during November. I and my Deputy Lieutenants always feel immensely privileged to be invited to join these moving ceremonies, and to lay wreaths in tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom. Remembrance also offers families and friends a chance to remember loved ones who gave their lives for their country and share their memories.
I must offer my sincere thanks to the Leicester and Leicestershire branches of the Royal British Legion and the numerous veterans organisations representing all three armed services, without whom many of these poignant services would not be able to take place. Our veterans and Armed Forces charities also provide vital support to members of the Armed Forces.
I hope that our Armed Forces personnel know that now, as always, we appreciate their bravery, sacrifice, and commitment, and thank them for their ongoing actions to ensure peace around the globe.