Robin Swann, Ulster Unionist MLA for North Antrim and Party Chief Whip, has called on the entire community to wear their Poppies with pride in the period running up to and during Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.
Mr Swann praised the tremendous role which the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal fulfilled in the support of, and aftercare of serving soldiers and veterans.
Mr Swann said:
“The current conflict in Afghanistan and the tragic personal losses to our Armed Forces serve as a daily reminder of the sacrifice of our military personnel. No matter how serious the danger, these gallant men and women continue to serve with honour and dignity and as a nation we owe them a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid.
“We must also remember the relatives and friends at home who constantly worry about their loved ones serving in these dangerous conflict zones.
“And in Northern Ireland, we are hugely aware of the sacrifice of our Armed Forces - from the UDR, RUC, Royal Irish and PSNI who served their country daily with many paying either the ultimate price with their lives, or being maimed and mentally scarred. To them we give our eternal thanks for making our country safer for our children.
"In these coming days, wear your Poppy with pride as a public tribute to those who have served their country so dearly. Almost a century after it was first established, the Royal British Legion still plays a vital role in the support aftercare of former and serving soldiers and their families.
“The current war in Afghanistan is a daily reminder of the sacrifice still being made by servicemen and women from across the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. On a regular basis, we hear of another soldier who has been injured or killed so it is extremely important that they and their families have access to all the help and support their need. We should also not forget the security force personnel and their families here in Northern Ireland who now seem to face the almost daily threat of attack from republican terrorists.
“In these coming weeks, make a donation to the Royal British Legion`s Poppy Appeal, wear your Poppy with pride and pay tribute to those who have so bravely served their country.”