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Respect our troops
6:00pm Friday 22nd June 2012 in Letters
Last week saw the 30th anniversary of the Falklands campaign. Last night, 30 years ago, I with my 2 Para colleagues were assaulting through mine fields and enemy fire towards Wireless Ridge, a battle that was to become our last before the Argentine surrender.
For 30 years that episode in my life has set the standards by which I have always lived.
It puts into sharp perspective all else that happens to and around me and to this day, those that I served with, both those that died and those that survived the last ever trench warfare conflict of our times, remain the finest soldiers and human beings I have ever or will ever meet.
Today’s world is a bit different and not always a better place. The work ethic of those soldiers is rarely replicated in life today.
Those soldiers that were underpaid, under-equipped and under-appreciated, that worked through injury and illness, against an over whelming enemy, with a desire to win that remains second to none.
Today, too many want to have more whilst giving less. Too many are more than willing to look for reasons not to work, or go to work. In some there is a culture of sick leave, it is a way of life, almost an add-on, to already generous holidays.
Not really the culture my friends and colleagues died for and not the culture my youngest son and his colleagues fight for in Afghanistan. It is however a culture that will catch up with us all one day.
My real fear, however, is for those serving soldiers. I live in trepidation of present conflicts ever ending.
Why? Because I fear for public opinion should soldiers not be in the limelight, even if that limelight is during repatriation after the ultimate sacrifice.
I have served when public opinion was less favourable to soldiers. We, after all, fight hard and indeed play hard, a fact rarely appreciated by many in civilian life.
Soldiers were often banned from pubs and clubs and even town centres, just because they were soldiers, and “might” cause trouble.
I pray that never happens or repeats itself, and we all remember that come our hour of need, these lively hard-playing young soldiers will lay down their lives for us without a second thought.
M Griffiths, Councillor, Wiltshire Council and Melksham Without North.