Last weekend I joined local youth organisations, servicemen and women to celebrate Armed Forces Day in Alexandra Park.
It was an impressive event where we could show our patriotic support for all our heroes and their outstanding contribution to this country. Behind the flags, parades, singing and acrobatics, we should remember that these brave people are putting their lives on the line- to keep us safe and build a better world for our children and grandchildren.
We must also remember that each one of our soldiers, sailors and airmen is also a wife, or a husband; a father; a mother , a son or a daughter. They do not choose this career for an easy life, and the pressure on their families is considerable.
I want to thank all those in Hastings and Rye who support their loved ones in the Armed Forces- through the good times and the bad times. Armed Forces Day is also a celebration of our veterans’ community too, whatever their age.
It was a pleasure to inspect the Veterans last Sunday in Alexandra Park. They all have much to offer and are a constant reminder to younger generations that preserving our way of life and things we hold dear is sometimes hard won and never guaranteed.
I thank the Hastings and St Leonards Veterans Association for all the stellar work they continue to do.
Internationally today we are seeing a set of multiple, concurrent challenges to the international order.
The flag outside the town hall in Hastings is flying half-mast to mourn the British victims of the Tunisian terror attack a few weeks ago.
I very much welcome that.
As a town and as a nation we have been united in shock as the names of those killed or injured emerge.
These brutal attacks remind us of the evil we face and the need for constant vigilance against terror.
Innocent British holidaymakers just wanted to enjoy themselves for a few days with the people they love, and suddenly became the victims of the most brutal terrorist attack against British people for many years.
Our military medical liaison officers and consular staff have been on hand doing an excellent job helping victims and their families.
As the Prime Minister said, we must be intolerant of intolerance. In our open and free society, we still can never completely eliminate threats from extremists.
We must do everything we can to protect our citizens and reduce risks from those who wish us harm. We must give our police and security services the tools they need to root out this barbarity.
Finally, this week we also remember the horrific 7/7 attacks in London 10 years ago.
Those who would attack Britain and the values we stand for should be in no doubt that we will not retreat from our duty to confront those who want hatred to flourish.
We stand behind values of democracy, freedom of speech and tolerance.
These are the values which strengthen our society and make up its backbone.
It is important that we sometimes reflect and remember- not only past conflicts but the threats we face today.
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