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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saddled with conflict

There was a time when I used to think that joining any of the armed forces was a 'cop out' -
Boys with toys. Men and women who extended their playgroup activities into the adult world.
Where you were always provided with a roof over your head, money in your pocket and food in your belly.
Where the things most people in life had to organise or work for were instantly provided.
Having been brought up as a service child I witness it all at first hand.
If you were lucky enough to get an overseas posting it may have been Singapore, Belize or Australia
Whole generations of soldiers, sailors and aviators were on the whole 'pretty safe' and the only real risks appeared to be 'sunburn' or too much 'tiger beer'.

Many kids would join the army to get a trade or to further their education, to provide themselves with the opportunities that their parents were unable or unwilling to provide to give themselves - choices.
The expectation of conflict, of being maimed or even killed was not even something that was contemplated.
How things have changed.
We now have generations of our armed forces who know nothing but conflict, where there is a real expectation of being killed or maimed.
Where we witness mothers and fathers outliving their children, who risk burying their own parents and children in the same year.
I have my own very strong Political views about the conflict that we find ourselves in, but to air those would be doing a disservice to the people I honour and am so very proud of.

Yesterday I was out riding in the East Yorkshire Wolds, the sun was shining, and there was little breeze - it was a perfect day.
As the day wore on things got a little tougher.
The 78 miles of the previous day was taking its toll, and my legs were tired.
My water was running out and the sun was shinning more fiercely as I was struggling up a 20% climb. Poor old me !!!!!!!!

Within 20 minutes I was sat on a comfortable chair drinking a Latte, my helmet was off and my bottle replenished. Refreshed, I had choices, to turn towards home or to carry on.

I am certain that our service personnel would love the choice to turn towards home.

For those of them who are fortunate enough to get home they should have a right to certain expectations - to be looked after. To enable their bodies and minds to heal.

Troops who are killed or injured give zero political points for any party in power.
They are very costly to bury, or mend and provide no tangible use to those high up in operational command.
They are out of sight and despite protestations to the contrary they are often out of mind.

For Mothers, fathers, Sons and daughters, friends, family and other loved ones.........they are NEVER out of sight or out of mind. In 2007 a charity called Help for Heroes was founded by Bryn and Emma Parry out of a desire to help the wounded Servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. The message of the charity was simple: We are strictly non political and non critical; we simply want to help. We believe that anyone who volunteers to serve in time of war, knowing that they may risk all, is a hero. These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things and some of them are living with the consequences of their service for life. We may not be able to prevent our soldiers from being wounded, but together we can help them get better.

This is a charity that our nation has got behind with people taking on extraordinary challenges to support our troops.

Next weekend Myself and four colleagues intend to cycle for 24hrs to raise money for Help for Heroes.
During the event I expect most of us will endure a degree of pain, discomfort, tiredness and hardship, there may even be those who don't make it.

It will undoubtedly provide drama, bonding and even conflicts. I really hope so.
We all believe in our own way that it is important to try and feel some of the emotions that our troops feel EVERYDAY.
Its also important that people continue to help.
Any donation whether it be $1, 1 euro, or £1 would be gratefully appreciated.
This can be done via the link in the right hand column or using the following link.

Thank you for reading


1 comment:

  1. Wow. 160km rides and temperatures over 100 Degrees. This is enough to test any man or woman


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