09 March 2017
A memorial to both UK armed forces and civilians who served in the Gulf and Afghanistan has been unveiled by Her Majesty The Queen in a ceremony at Victoria Embankment Gardens in London.
The memorial honours those who served in the region, and those who supported them back home, from 1990-2015.
The event featured prayers, music and readings, and a small ceremony for the unveiling. There were 2,500 invited guests, including current service personnel, veterans, civil servants and charity workers. It was attended by The Queen, other members of the Royal Family, as well as politicians. However, the event has drawn criticism for not specifically inviting the families of the 682 service personnel who where killed in the conflicts. Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, called on PM, Theresa May to apologise for, what he called, a careless oversight.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said this about the sculpture by Paul Day, which cost £1million and was funded by a Sun on Sunday newspaper campaign, “The memorial will stand as a permanent reminder of the contribution and sacrifice that so many members of our Armed Forces, aid workers and civilian personnel made towards the security of the United Kingdom and the interests of Iraq and Afghanistan. Their efforts underline our on-going commitment to support the people of this region in building a more stable future which will help keep Britain safer and more secure.”