Letter: 13 July 2012

Actions speak louder than words

MAY I congratulate your paper on your valid comments regarding the Armed Services Community Covenant (Voice of Medway, Comment, July 6).

I have been brought up to recognise the dedication of our nation’s Armed Forces and support the move by Medway Council to cement our community’s support to the Armed Services community in Medway.

My grandfather served in the Second World War, with the other serving in the Royal Air Force shortly after. Both my parents have been involved in the Air Training Corps locally, inspiring new generations to live by the standards of discipline and respect fostered by the Armed Services, and, in many cases, to serve in our Armed Services as well.

I, too, was a member of the Air Training Corps for six-and-a-half years, serving on my former squadron’s civilian committee for a while after leaving, and now serve as a Trustee and the Treasurer of the Medway Towns Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association.

It is the sense of pride and respect in our Armed Services instilled during my upbringing that leads me to echo your comments regarding the new covenant.

Words of support on paper can mean a lot to those who are serving or have served their country, but they mean little without firm action backing up those commitments. For too often, those brave men and women to whom we owe our lives and our freedoms have been told by those in authority that they are only to be praised and thanked, yet have subsequently been betrayed by those same people – sometimes in almost the same breath.

Medway Council and all the other signatories to the covenant must now prove that, far from being more shallow words of praise, the covenant presents a meaningful, binding commitment to honouring and working hard for those men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend each one of us, and ensure that their right to authority – and our right to remove them from authority – is absolute.

Alan W Collins, Goudhurst Road, Gillingham