THE bravery and sacrifice of armed services personnel was acknowledged during a touching ceremony.
Peterlee Town Council hosted a Flying the Flag ceremony ahead of Armed Forces Day, which is being held nationally this Saturday, when Hartlepool will make its own tribute.
Around 70 people, including veterans, local cadets, councillors from Peterlee Town Council and Durham County Council, Inspector Dave Coxon, of Peterlee Police, and members of the public attended the flag-flying ceremony yesterday at Helford Road Pavilion.
The flag, which will be flying throughout the week, was hoisted by Mayor Don Milsom.
He gave a speech which highlighted how this year is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War and also the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Mayor Milsom also told those gathered: “We honour with pride those who fought and gave their lives, but we also think about with pride all our armed forces who are currently serving our country.”
Peterlee town council leader Councillor Bill Jeffrey said: “To me, something like this brings a lump to the throat when you think what it represents.
“People gave up their lives for us and we don’t know what the world would be like if they hadn’t done what they did.”
The congregation met for 10.55am, before the cadets took part in a short march.
Bugler Ian Langthorne, of The GT Band, played The Last Post and deacon Peter Barrigan led in prayer.
There was a minute’s silence before Mr Langthorne played again and then the flag was raised.
This Saturday, Hartlepool’s Armed Forces Day commemorations start at 10.30am when participants gather in the car park near the Portofino restaurant, at Hartlepool Marina.
A parade starts at 10.50am before a short service in Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience car park.
Tug Wilson, secretary of the Hartlepool Combined Ex-Servicemen’s Association and Northern Region representative for the Royal Artillery Association’s National Executive Committee, said: “We have something a bit different this year in that the crew from HMS Hurworth is coming to do demonstrations in rope climbing up and down the mast on HMS Trincomalee from 1.30pm.
“The public are invited along to see that.
“We have also got a detachment from the Royal Logistics Corps that has been formed in Hartlepool and 5ST regiment from the Royal Artillery just back from Afghanistan who will be marching.
“This is probably as important as Remembrance Day.
“Remembrance Day is to remember the guys who unfortunately didn’t get back from any of the conflicts.
“Armed Forces Day is also to remember the guys who went there and came back.”