Today is the day in which the citizens of the United Kingdom are free to express their gratitude for all that our armed services provide for our nation.
The primary goal of the forces is of course defence; from patrolling our shipping lanes and isolated territories, to interdicting threats overseas, to their preparation to defend our very homes to the end the armed forces are there to keep British citizens and our allies safe.
Beyond the realms of direct action the services also forward our nations interests indirectly; the army in particular conducts many training missions with our allies, showing commitment and reassurance to friendly states the world over. The deployment of ships or aircraft also show a powerful symbol of willingness to act; by their mere presence can our services deter military conlict.
As a tool of the state, the armed services can also provide aid to the most needy; the Royal Navy have conducted many disaster relief efforts, whilst military doctors provide much needed expertise to countries stricken by famine or disease. Even at home we can see the services in action; in flooding relief to the recent deployment of Operation Temperer in which the army assisted the police in the face of terrorism.
Within the institutions that provide these vital works may be seen skills and traditions that have been passed on through centuries of service personnel, and it should be a point of pride that our protectors also represent some of the older pillars of our society.
By their dedication and willingness to serve do the military help our society and our friends, they are deserving of respect, support, and praise and I am glad to see how widely this day has been marked.