As we sit down to our Sunday roast – be it roast beef and Yorkshire Puds, or chicken and mash, or pork and apple sauce – we take time to thank the special woman in our life: Mum.
Mum supports us, whatever we want to do; she told you stories as a kid; drove you to football after work; puts up with your constant chat, and your untidy room; she will always be there for you, whatever you need. We all have a Mum, somewhere.
Yet, I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to the Mums whose sons or daughters will not be coming home.
This week the nation marked the end of the the United Kingdom’s mission in the 13-year-long Afghanistan War. In that time, 453 servicemen and women lost their lives trying to combat the Taliban, and assisting the Afghanistan authorities to stand on their own.
Of the 140,000 troops deployed, 108 died in 2009 alone – the worst year of the conflict. But the death toll is only half the story.
Over 2000 soldiers were categorised as Wounded in Action, with hundreds ending up having to receive amputations. Since then, charities focused on rehabilitation and support have been established, such as Help for Heroes, which has raised over£100 million to support wounded veterans.
Prince Harry also pioneered the much celebrated Invictus Games last September, showing war amputees as “wounded warriors”, who can still do what they love.
Of course, Afghanistan is not the only conflict to have affected current generations. Iraq, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, the Falkland Islands, and Gibraltar – each with their own costs; economically, culturally, and to soldiers and their families. And that is only the UK, there are many more countries who are still losing sons and daughters to war.
Now politicians argue over the UK’s 2 per-cent spending of GDP of defence, bullied on by the USA, who appear to see it as a risk to their own safety.
And so, when we thank Mothers everywhere for their love, remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice – past and present.