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Remembering the RAF personnel who served in Afghanistan

On Friday a service of commemoration was held at St Paul's Cathedral to mark the end of UK involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan. RAF Benevolent Fund Ambassador, Jacqui Thompson, whose husband Gary, was killed while serving with the RAF Regiment in Afghanistan was there and tells us about the day in this blog.

Jacqui Thompson meets HM The Queen at the Afghanistan Service of Commemoration

Services like these are always bittersweet. I try so hard not to relive that awful moment when they told me Gary had been killed.

There is not a day that goes passed that I don’t think of Gary, I still love him and I've missed him every day for nearly seven years.

The service at St Paul's for me was truly honourable and was such a moving commemoration. It showed our appreciation, respect and admiration to all our armed forces and their commitment. It also commemorated the 453 brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice, we will never forget them.

The Queen and several senior members of the Royal Family attended the ceremony, and for me, their presence elevated the importance of the occasion.

The Afghanistan Service of Commemoration was held at St Paul's CathedralA couple of days before the ceremony I had been informed I was being presented to the Queen - I honestly couldn't believe it.

The Queen has such beautiful smile that reaches her eyes; she asked about Gary and I told her he was reservist in the RauxAF and he was proud to serve his country.

I met so many amazing and inspirational families who had lost a loved one and I was just as heartbroken for them as my own family.

I met members of the armed forces who made me feel incredibly humble when I listened to their stories and the loss of their comrades.

The most emotional part of the day for me was when all the families followed the parade from St Paul's to The Guildhall and all the public were there applauding. The genuine show of support on their faces was incredible, some were even crying. I remember thinking I wish Gary was here to see all this, I know he would have been so proud and humbled by the whole occasion.

It was a very emotional day but it is only now as I am writing this that I find I have tears streaming down my face. I am so incredibly proud of Gary: husband, father, grandfather and RAF airman.

By Jacqui Thompson

0800 169 2942

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