Over 60 dignitaries and veterans marked Armed Service Day outside the Civic Offices in New Road, Grays, on Monday (21 June) morning.
Across the country — and the world — flags were raised at 10.30am British Summer Time at town halls, and service bases. Armed Service Day itself is on Saturday (26 June).
In Grays, Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Anne Cheale, was joined by MP Jackie Doyle-Price and Leader of the Council, Cllr John Kent, along with councillors, council officers, veterans, including Albert England, President of the Burma Star Association which has the Freedom of the Borough.
Mayor, Cllr Cheale, opening the ceremony, said: “Last year Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff invited local authorities to take part in a national ‘Fly a Flag’ campaign which was adopted with great enthusiasm and Thurrock was proud to ‘Fly a Flag’.
“We know that every day, the men and women of our Armed Forces make personal sacrifices for us, a sacrifice often shared with their families and at great cost. We will never forget this.”
And MP Jackie Doyle-Price, added: “Armed Forces Day is an opportunity for the whole country to show their appreciation of what our service personnel have done and continue to do.
“The fact that so many councils, businesses, schools and members of the public have shown their support by flying a flag will mean a great deal, particularly to those serving this country today.”
Cllr John Kent, Leader of the Council, said is was “quite poignant” that the Ministry of Defence had announced this country’s 300th armed forces death in Afghanistan on Monday Morning.
He added: “Today — as well as raising this flag — we are raising money for, and raising awareness of the Help for Heroes charity, and that’s exactly what these young people are … heroes literally dying for this country.
“It is my intent that those who serve in the Forces are not forgotten in Thurrock. That is why the Deputy Leader of this council, Val Morris-Cook, has had Veterans’ Affairs added to her portfolio.
“Those of us who stay at home have a duty not to forget those who have served … we will remember them.”