The Island will mark Armed Forces Day on Sunday 29 June.
Local men and women serving in the Armed Forces will join veterans in a march along Douglas’s promenades at 2.30pm and at a church service that follows at the Villa Marina at 3.45pm.
In what is always a moving highlight of the service, serving personnel returning to the Island for the occasion are welcomed into the Royal Hall with a standing ovation.
The day culminates in afternoon tea and an evening of entertainment at the Villa Marina.
The event has greater significance this year as the Island marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War One and the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Veterans of World War Two are among those participating in the march and service.
Brigadier Norman Butler CBE chairs the Armed Forces’ Day committee, which has the patronage of the Lieutenant Governor, the President of Tynwald and the Chief Minister and is made up of representatives of all the Island’s ex-service organisations.
Brigadier Butler said:
‘Armed Forces Day is a Manx national day that recognises and celebrates the service given by so many Manx men and women through the two world wars and in more recent conflicts.
‘We are fortunate to have a significant number of serving personnel to march with us. The bulk of veterans marching are National Servicemen. We still have a few who served in the war, together with a number of veterans with more recent service.’
Juan Watterson MHK, the Isle of Man Government’s Armed Forces Champion, said:
‘Armed Forces Day is one of the major occasions in the year that brings the armed forces and the wider community together. It is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the sacrifice given by so many and honour those who have fought for our country. It is gratifying that so many units with links to the Island make the special effort to join us for this event and I hope as many people as possible will repay that effort by joining in and attending Armed Forces Day.’
For the seventh time in the eight-year history of the event, students from secondary schools will join in the march and service.
Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children, said:
'It’s poignant to see young people marching alongside veterans of World War Two, later campaigns and serving personnel and touching to see students mingling and chatting with veterans at the tea that follows the service. Our schools enjoy taking part in this event as it links the past and the present in a way that can’t be replicated in the classroom.’
The Brigadier said:
‘The number of veterans participating is ever-dwindling, so we are delighted that so many of our youngsters join us, showing such interest and enthusiasm. This gives us the hope that the memory of the sacrifice made by so many in the past to preserve our future will continue to be honoured.’
Application forms for tickets for Armed Forces Day, which are free, can be obtained from the Villa Marina box office, the Manx Welcome Centre at the Sea Terminal, the Manx Legion Club in Douglas or Commissioners’ offices or by returning the form that will appear in next week’s Isle of Man Examiner and Isle of Man Courier to Ann Wilson at 1 Kensington Avenue, Douglas, IM1 3ET.