Minister for Veterans, Derek Twigg has announced that Blackpool has been chosen to hold the 2008 National Veterans Day event.
During a ceremony at the Imperial War Museum in London, Mr Twigg also announced that eligibility to apply for the HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge and UK Merchant Seafarers Veterans Badge has been extended to include all those who have served in UK Armed Forces.
This means that veterans of the ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are now eligible. The third annual Veterans Day on 27 June 2008 is a chance for the nation to recognise the contribution made by veterans of all ages in conflicts both past and present and, in addition, a large number of Veterans Day events, ranging in size, will be taking place across the UK during the summer. Derek Twigg, Under Secretary of State for Defence and Veterans Minister, said: "We have had a number of excellent bids to host this year's celebrations, but after careful consideration Blackpool Council's efforts stood out. I congratulate them on the excellence of their bid. "Veterans are of all ages with a variety of different backgrounds, and they all deserve our recognition.
Not only have they honoured their commitment to defend our country's interests in Service, they have also used their skills and experiences to enrich their local communities. "With the establishment of an annual Veterans Day, June 27 is our chance to recognise the achievements of those veterans who live amongst us." Blackpool Council has planned nine days of veterans' events to pay tribute to the contributions veterans make to their community, including:
an Aero GP where veteran pilots will compete in performing demonstrations of dog fighting and target bombing
a Veterans Badge Challenge in which veterans will attempt to climb Blackpool Tower, and dive to the bottom of a shark tank to retrieve their badges.
rededication of Cenotaph and Veterans Service
Night time parachute jump and fireworks display
NWN: British nationalist ex-servicemen and women will have a function in Blackpool arranged for this prestigious period. All services and Corps will be welcome.