Friday, April 24, 2009


I don’t usually pay all that much attention to email chain letters. You can normally goggle them to find out if they are urban myths. They can sometimes be quite unpleasant.

This week I received this particular chain email (below) from my sister-in-law in Suffolk and from a former female work colleague in Kent.

I suspect many people have also received this message recently. Both kept referring to the “English” which is grating given the disproportionate numbers of Welsh, Scots and Irish troops currently out in harm’s way while in the service of our country, but there you go. Non-English Brits are pretty used to this.

While it is easy to dismiss and mock such messages I think that even those who oppose the British involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq should respect and try to understand these sentiments behind it.

But it would appear that this chain letter was actually started by Canadian families and has now spread to America and the other NATO countries.

On any investigation it is pretty obvious that these emails have been, let us say, “Adapted”. This is dishonest since it is quite clear that this scene never happened in a “West London airport” in the way in which it pretends to have done so.

I also feel somewhat uncomfortable as a “red blooded Briton” (aren't we all?) with such apparent nationalistic flag waving sentiment. After all, that sort of thing is not really British – is it?

What about the bravery of our NATO and Commonwealth allies and their dead and injured soldiers? What about the Afghan and Iraqi government troops and police who have suffered huge losses. Never mind the numerous innocent civilities caught up in “collateral damage”. Don’t they deserve a mention at least?

Despite this anyone frankly IMO who reads this passage and does not have a tear in their eye at the end has a heart of stone. We also do not want to leave such important messages hostage to our home grown Nazi's such as the BNP - who have heads of stone as well as hearts and will abuse such imperfect collective solidarity for their own essentially unpatriotic ends.

Also it is important that those who we send out to fight and suffer on our nation’s behalf receive our active, vocal and visual support for our bidding. Let us not forget that this should be in deeds as well as words or symbols.

Despite my reservations this is I think going to be a part of our future national folklore.

Last week I was in West London attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their uniforms, as they began heading to their gate everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.

When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red blooded Briton who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families. Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us, so we can go to school, work, and enjoy our home without fear or reprisal.

Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He knelt down and said 'hi,' the little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.
The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter’s name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Corporal and had been in Afghanistan for 5 months now. As the mum was explaining how much her daughter, Courtney, missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mum was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it. After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a Kiss on the cheek.

He finished by saying 'Your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.' The mum at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet he saluted Courtney and her mum.

I was standing no more than 6 feet away as this entire event unfolded. As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own.

That young soldier in one last act of moment turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek. We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices.

At the end of the day, it's good to be an Englishman.

RED FRIDAYS Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? British men and women who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for Country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing.

We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions. Many British people, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of Britain supports our troops.

Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that every Briton who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make Great Britain on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football team If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family, It will not be long before Britain is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is...'We need your support and your prayers'... Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.


Lest we Forget.

Please don't forget our boys & girls

Please forward.


Anonymous said...

There is no way this round of applause for the soldiers at Heathrow or wherever it is meant to be happened anywhere in Britain.

For goodness sake we are British and this sort of mawkish sentimentality is entirely alien to our character. And thank God for that.

Anonymous said...

Actually "mawkisk sentimentality" is what is called "patriotism". But then as no Labour cabinet member in this government has ever worn a uniform and as Brown has never actually been inside the MOD building the dismissive attitude of Labour to our soldiers is entirely predictable. Roll on female circumcision as long as we hate the Yanks!

John Gray said...

Hi Anon 22.54
I take your point. But actually if troops did use civilan airports I am very sure that they would get rounds of applause from other users.
Hi Anon 23.21
Don’t be silly. The senior Tory cabinet shadow minister have never worn a uniform either. Does that rule them out as well?
Hi Anon 14.30
You’re deleted - cut the swearing out please.

Anonymous said...

No doubt they would get a round of applause similar to the one they received recently in Luton.
Brown deludes himself that he is respected by the forces when he makes his photo opportunity trips to Afghanistan - he looked totally uncomfortable and out of place in the desert in his three piece suit - and well he might..because the truth is no one in the forces respects him at all. Everyone remembers that he was the Chancellor that he deliberately starved the forces of funds and was indifferent to their requirements - many retiring senior officers have made clear what a poor job Labour have done in this respect. This is a matter of record. The truth is socialists like Brown have a natural antipathy towards the Officers and traditions of the Army and many people in the forces feel likewise toward Labour. The celebration of the lowest common denominator, the lack of standards - (fiddling expenses, shagging civil servents, lies on intelligence, scapegoating and hounding of Civil srvents to death, Porn films, smear campaigns are a way of life that few people in the forces recognise or aspire too). Gorbals Mick the Glasgow sheet metal basher voted in as Speaker by Labour MP's in defiance of hundreds of years of Commons tradition - is a brilliant example of this. Fiddling his rent, free flights for his family and his many foreign junkets adequately sum this honourable, what a great person to hold this post, someone we can all admire and look up to. Good job being thick is not a barrier to progression in a Labour Government. Funny how John is avoiding all comment on the disasterous extent of Labour's economic legacy!

John Gray said...

Hi Remi (or link troll?)
Your darling Maggie herself never wore a uniform? Did that rule her out of government? Just a thought!

Hi Anon
I’m afraid you are just being silly. Actually traditional patriots such as Gordon Brown have more in common with British forces (officers or otherwise) than most of the new “right”. Many of whom despise values and concepts such as “duty” and “service”. They have only one loyalty and that is to their pocket.

I know you enjoy my predictions (even if you cannot remember them properly) but dealing with this financial crisis will be the making of Gordon Brown. Even if it will take a while for him to receive the credit.

Anonymous said...

The recession will be the making of Brown...that's rich, let me wipe the tears of mirth from my eyes.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon

are you sure they are not really tears of joy at the prospect of a Labour victory. After all, what would you do with yourself if the wicked ones got in!