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A chance to salute our Forces MY CITY.

Byline: JOE RILEY ECHO COLUMNIST

MY FAVOURITE Liverpool statue is Tom Murphy's 1998 evocation of Captain Frederick "Johnnie" Walker at the Pier Head.

The legendary German U-boat killer, largely responsible for winning the Battle of the Atlantic, and turning the fortunes of war to Allied advantage, is immortalised in crew sweater, holding a pair of binoculars and looking out to sea. Ever watchful for the safety of our nation.

So there can hardly be a more fitting place than Liverpool, strategy HQ and point of departure for the most heroic and important sea victory since Trafalgar, to play host to this year's National Armed Forces Day this Saturday.

At 11am, a column of 1,000 proud troops and cadets will march through the city centre in a parade to honour Britain's 196,000 trained active personnel, their families, and veterans of yore.

This is an opportunity to give thanks for the present soldiers, sailors and air staff, as well as to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.

Despite a slight dip in recruitment in recent years, the United Kingdom still commands the fifth-biggest defence budget in the world.

Over the current decade, from 2015, PS178bn, or 2% of national income (GDP), has been set aside to ensure that Great Britain remains a capable fighting force when required - and, of course, also strives to increase the peace.

Yet this Saturday's eagerly-awaited event - which is so aptly tied in with this year's Mersey River Festival, is not an occasion which is about money and statistics.

It is, instead, about the heartfelt gratitude of a nation.

Saturday is a day for flying flags - and saluting them.

JOE RILEY ECHO COLUMNIST

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 22, 2017
Words:285
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