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26 Jun 10. Edinburgh will host the Armed Forces Day celebrations in 2011 Edinburgh is to host next year’s UK Armed Forces Day celebrations, it has been announced. Defence Secretary Liam Fox confirmed the capital will be the focus of the 2011 event, as thousands of people gathered in towns and cities across Scotland for this year’s celebrations. The day provided the public with a chance to honour military personnel. Parades have been held in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Towns across the country are also marking the day. Armed Forces Day takes place at the end of a week in which eight UK service personnel were killed in Afghanistan. The deaths took the death toll there to 307 since the mission began. This is the second year the day was celebrated in towns and cities across the UK, with Cardiff the focus of this year’s event. The main Scottish parades were in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen but events are also being held in more than 20 other locations including East Kilbride, Ayr, Dumfries, Dingwall in Ross-shire, Keith in Banffshire, and Arbroath and Montrose in Angus. First Minister Alex Salmond was in Aberdeen, where troops from 45 Commando and RAF Lossiemouth marched down Union Street. He said: “Today we should all take a moment to honour those who cannot be here today and remember their sacrifice. Parades, like this one in Aberdeen, were held across the UK “We not only commemorate those who have fallen but also celebrate the commitment of our armed forces, past and present, to this nation. “It will be a privilege to host this important tribute in Scotland for the first time next year.”
Edinburgh’s celebrations began with a parade by military personnel, veterans and young cadets from Edinburgh Castle to The Mound, via the City Chambers and Waverley Bridge. Chief of the General Staff, General Sir David Richards, took the salute from the parading troops and veterans. He said: “It’s clear that councils and communities across Scotland have made a tremendous effort to support Armed Forces Day, to provide celebrations and make this a day to remember. “It means a great deal to us and I am immensely grateful.” Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attended the events in Glasgow, which included a military parade of personnel, veterans and cadets, as well as live entertainment and military displays. Veterans’ charity Erskine also launched a welfare awareness drive in the city with a roadshow bus in George Square, aimed at encouraging veterans and serving personnel to learn about the charity and sign up for the services to which they are entitled. Edinburgh City Council leader, Jenny Dawe, was in Cardiff for the defence secretary’s announcement about next year’s event. The city’s Lord Provost, George Grubb, said: “Plans are already under way to lay on a truly spectacular occasion, and we want the whole city to get behind our troops and veterans the people, local businesses, schools and community groups.” (Source: BBC)

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