This evening Sarah and I attended an event in a local military camp organised by The Army Presentation Team. It was an interesting occasion with talks on Army life by high ranking officers and NCO's. The aim was to show members of the community the wide range of activities in which the Army is engaged across the globe. Obviously there's the fighting, but our troops also provide humanitarian assistance and help to restore in infrastructure of war torn countries. We were also shown a film featuring snapshots of Army life, introduced by the well regarded Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt. The film was followed by Q&A session in which several issues were raised, including troop welfare, the quality of Army housing, and whether our fighting men and women are now receiving the best equipment for their difficult and dangerous work.
The most interesting aspect of the evening for me was the opportunity to mingle and chat with ordinary soldiers prior to and after the official presentation. They spoke of their experience of Army life in an open and honest way. Among other things, we talked about foreign policy issues, the impact of Christianity on British culture and values, and the provision the Army makes for the spiritual needs of its troops. I take a just war stance rather than a pacifist position and it was fascinating to discuss the moral aspects of present day conflicts. The soldiers expresses huge pride in the Army, both in its fighting capabilities and in its principles of selflessness, discipline, courage and respect for the rule of law.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when invited to attend this event. But I'm glad we went. The evening gave us a renewed appreciation of role of British Army in today's world. See here for an interview with General Sir Richard Dannatt, where he discusses his Christian faith and speaks of the importance of Christian values in our society.