Thousands of people and a host of celebrities have backed an online campaign to support Afghan veterans as the country they fought in and for descends into bloody chaos.
TV presenter and Army veteran Rav Wilding, and “Help for Heroes” patrons Ross Kemp, Lorraine Kelly, and Sun columnist Peta Cavendish are among those to get behind the #StillOurHeroes hashtag on Twitter and Facebook, launched by forces charity Help for Heroes.
Former Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer has posted a #StillOurHeroes video aimed directly at veterans, in which he says: “You stood up for what was good, when the nation called for you to serve, you served, and you can be incredibly proud of your service.
“I’m incredibly proud of you. You cannot control it and be proud of your service and what we did in some of the harshest conditions the British Army’s ever fought in.”
Labour Party affiliated Labour Campaign for International Development wrote on Twitter, “Thank you for 20 years of progress in #Afghanistan—in living standards, girls education, gains in freedom, particularly for women and ethnic minorities no longer being persecuted. It was not for nothing, you are #StillOurHeroes.”
Events in Afghanistan are causing some veterans to question the value of their service & sacrifice.
Help us show veterans & families that the nation continues to stand by them & they are #StillOurHeroes.
Share your positive messages of support & appreciation below. 👇 pic.twitter.com/6dC7s8dCDA
— Help for Heroes (@HelpforHeroes) August 24, 2021
Help for Heroes launched the campaign as the Afghanistan withdrawal has prompted constant questioning about “was it worth it?” and has led to many veterans questioning the value of their service.
The charity says its clinical staff are dealing with many veterans having to handle painful memories, sights and sounds that are triggering traumatic experiences, affecting their feelings of self-worth, and having a direct impact on their mental health.
Thousands have now engaged with the campaign online, with many members of the public posting positive messages of support and appreciation to veterans.
Carol Betteridge, head of clinical and medical services at Help for Heroes and herself a former Royal Navy Captain who served in Afghanistan, said: “It’s really unhelpful to ask veterans whether the time they spent in Afghanistan was in vain.
“We all need to recognise their service and the sacrifices they made. Every single one of them made a difference and we need to let them know how immensely proud we are of them and their families, their bravery, and their achievements.”
Help for veterans is available at www.helpforheroes.org.uk
By Pat Hurst