Remembering our Armed Forces

In his latest blog, Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, reflects on Remembrance Day, and the role that the city plays in supporting our Armed Forces.

Each year, Remembrance Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the enduring contribution of our Armed Forces, as we come together to honour all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms, democracy and way of life.

It has now been over 100 years since the first Armistice Day in November 1918, and whilst this is now outside living memory, the service and sacrifice of our present-day Armed Forces is still of upmost importance to our nation.

In today’s uncertain world, with Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine causing the biggest crisis in European security since the Cold War, our country, alongside our NATO allies, have shown iron resolve in confronting Russian aggression and supporting Ukraine. Our Armed Forces have played a leading role, coordinating supplies, supporting NATO allies on deployments in Estonia and training Ukrainian troops.

Back at home, our Service Personnel played a crucial role in assisting with Operation London Bridge during the 10-day period of national mourning for Her Late Majesty the Queen, and in particular on the day of her funeral.

I am proud of the role that our Armed Forces continue to play in our nation and across the world, and Birmingham has a history of supporting our forces, during both World Wars, and through to the present day. Armed Forces units with a close association to the City of Birmingham have, over the years, been granted the Freedom of the City as a symbol of appreciation for all that they do. Many people will remember JJ Chalmer’s emotional tribute to his friend, Mickey Yule and to the city of Birmingham during this summer’s Commonwealth Games. JJ talked about his treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, which is the receiving hospital for the UK’s military patients and a shining example of modern medicine.

I am proud that our city is home to QEHB, which provides ongoing medical support to our troops, whether they need specialist cancer treatment, an organ transplant, or who are injured in conflict or training. And Fisher House, on the site of QEHB, provides a home-from-home for military patients and their families, giving them a play to stay, free of charge, during their time of need.

We all owe our Armed Forces a debt of gratitude, and we can be proud of our city’s close relationship with our military. So during this period of Remembrance, as we all pay tribute in our own way, I will be thinking of all of the Birmingham residents, who throughout the generations have given so much to our nation, and to our city.

This post was published on 11 November 2022.

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