I wish to announce today that the Government have selected Chatham Historic Dockyard to be the host for the 2009 Armed Forces Day national event.
We announced our plans to hold an Armed Forces Day when we published our response to the Report of Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces in October last year1. The intent is to provide an occasion during which the whole nation has the opportunity to show its appreciation for the contribution made to society by all those who serve and have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
The title “Armed Forces Day” has been chosen to reflect the wider armed forces family of serving personnel (both regular and reserve), veterans and the cadet forces. This sense of inclusiveness is reflected in the strapline for the Day: “Honouring Britain’s Armed Forces, Past, Present and Future”.
Building on the success of previous Veterans Day celebrations, we plan to mark the occasion with a wide range of community-led events taking place in towns and cities around the country. Last year, we supported over 100 such events and we expect a similar level of activity this year. To provide a focus for the national recognition, we also intend to support a national event and a number of local authorities and other organisations have also submitted bids to be the national event host. There were a number of compelling bids that offered excellent prospects to host a prestigious and fitting event, but against stiff competition, we have selected Chatham Historic Dockyard to be the host for the 2009 national event.
I will be writing to all Members of Parliament soon setting out more details of our plans for the Day.
1The Government’s Response to the Report of Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces, October 2008.