The organisers of Armed Forces Day which takes place on Saturday 25 June and which is now in its third year, have invited the nation to “show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to service families and from veterans to cadets.” Parades, fly-pasts and ceremonies will be held throughout the country.
Last year, David Cameron urged “an explosion of red white and blue all over the country.” and will this year join Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, members of the Royal Family and senior army officers at an event in Edinburgh.
Quakers in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, have chosen a different way. They are putting on an exhibition entitled 'Armed Forces Day: an Alternative View' which will look at some of the causes of conflict and at non-violent means of conflict resolution.
The exhibition will include the work of the Ecumenical Accompaniers in Israel Palestine and the training in peacemaking and conflict resolution undertaken by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. It will consider the effect which climate justice, fair trade and a more ethical foreign policy could play in reducing the injustices which lead to conflict.
Jill Segger, a member of Bury St Edmunds Quaker Meeting and an Associate Director of Ekklesia said: “We believe that we can best show our care for the courageous men and women of our Armed Forces and for their families by stimulating debate on the causes of conflict. By questioning the assumption that the only response to conflict is always armed intervention, we hope to be faithful to our Peace Testimony and to offer an alternative expression of genuine support for our military personnel which does not involve pageantry or the display of weapons”.
The exhibition can be seen at the Quaker Meeting House in St John's Street between 2-6 pm on Saturday 25 June.