GAZING on proudly, but in a humbled state of silence, Woking dignitaries and war veterans took a moment to reflect as the Armed Forces Day flag waved high above the civic offices.
Representatives and veterans from the Army, Navy and RAF joined the Mayor of Woking, Councillor Anne Roberts, outside the council HQ on Monday.
The Union Flag, emblazoned with the words ‘Armed Forces Day Show Your Support’, was hoisted into the sky ahead of tomorrow (Saturday’s) show of support for serving military personnel, as well as those who served before them.
Royal Marine Bill Blount, 88, told the News & Mail the significance Armed Forces Day held for him.
He said: “We won’t ever forget we got our freedom at the cost of our comrades’ lives – D-Day was a day we will never forget.”
Vice chairman for the Woking branch of the RAF Association, Nigel Jackson, held a similar sentiment. He said: “My youngest son Craig is serving as a medic for an air rescue team in Afghanistan and my eldest is in the 1st Battalion Royal Anglians.
“My father was also in the RAF so the hoisting of the flag today is particularly poignant for me as it swells emotion from both the past and present.”
Woking Borough Council joined hundreds of other councils across the UK in raising a unique flag to support Britain’s Armed Forces Day.
Flags will be flown the length and breadth of the country from the Shetland Islands to Land’s End and from Lowestoft to the Scilly Isles.
Woking Sea Cadet Brian Jones, 68, said: “It’s a great idea flying the Armed Forces Day flag from the top of the civic offices. I wish more people knew it was happening.
“We’re coming to Woking with our full band later this summer and we’re hoping to pull in a crowd.”
The specially designed flags, based on the Union Jack, were raised to mark the beginning of a week of events leading up to Saturday.
On the day, Mayor Roberts will attend a service in Jubilee Square organised by forces veteran, Rod Fraser.
The flag will remain above the civic offices until Monday, July 1.
Armed Forces Day flags will also be flown by British Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan and at other locations around the world.
The parade in Jubilee Square carries extra significance for Woking following the Community Covenant signed by the council, pledging their support to military residents and their families.
Mayor Roberts said: “Raising a specially designed flag to mark Armed Forces Day gives the people of our borough, and across the country, the chance to remember, while showing their respect and support for the brave and courageous men and women who have served, and continue to serve, in our armed forces around the world.”