As Her Majesty The Queen unveils a new Iraq and Afghanistan wars memorial in London, Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, Chief Executive at the RAF Benevolent Fund, pays tribute to the UK servicemen and women who served in the conflicts.
Today, Her Majesty The Queen unveiled a new memorial in London to honour both the UK Armed Forces and the civilians who served our country in the Gulf region, Iraq and Afghanistan, and those who supported them back home from 1990-2015.
It is a day for us to stop and remember the contribution and sacrifice that so many members of our Armed Forces have made in those far off countries over the last 25 years.
When we think of sacrifice, it is often those who died that we remember, but our work with the RAF Benevolent Fund teaches us on a daily basis that it is much wider than that.
I think of all those who were wounded or injured in wars and conflicts – mentally as well as physically. I also think of the families currently supporting them and of all those families who have lost a loved one.
The vast majority of those who go away on operations or to war return to their loved ones unhurt – perhaps changed – but unhurt. However, there are those who become the legacy of those wars and it is these people who are amongst those that the RAF Benevolent Fund exists to support.
Each year the Fund supports some 60,000 people, some of who are casualties of war, some who just need a helping hand because life has become challenging.
We don’t differentiate between the two groups and nor should we. If an individual is willing to put on an RAF uniform and do their duty for our country, or be the family member of someone who puts that uniform on, then we should be willing to be there for them if they need us, whenever that might be.
Quite simply, we have a responsibility to each and every member of the wider RAF family and if they need help, the RAF Benevolent Fund will be there to support them.