Once more, we see our armed forces called into action, this time in the military operation in Libya, where the rebellion against Colonel Gaddafi’s long rule has plunged the country into turmoil.
The government’s justification for joining international action is that it wishes to help protect Libyan civilians from being killed or injured at the hands of their own countrymen.
There has, not surprisingly, been mixed reaction about Britain’s involvement in all of this. Many see it as an integral part of our role in the world community that we act in unity with our allies to help protect innocent lives.
Others say we have no business in interfering with the affairs of the country which has been ruled by Gaddafi for more than 40 years.
So far, our involvement, although direct, has been remote. The Royal Navy has fired missiles from a submarine in the Mediterranean to knock out some of Gaddafi’s air capability while the RAF has flown marathon sorties to help establish and enforce the no-fly zone over the strife-torn country.
We fear that this operation might well prove to be protracted and we hope that it does not escalate to the point of British troops being deployed as part of a United Nations force.
But it does focus again the role played by our armed forces and their continued readiness to deploy when and where needed.
People are rightly proud of our servicemen and women and the task they perform in difficult, dangerous, and often deadly circumstances.
Next month, the people of Emsworth will again stage their own special celebrations during the week of St George’s Day, which will include on April 21 a parade by soldiers of the 47 Regiment Royal Artillery, based at Thorney Island. It is an ideal opportunity for people to show their pride in our armed forces.
We hope that those who want to express their thanks will travel from miles around to pack the streets of Emsworth for this special day.
And we hope that well before then, peace will have returned to the far-off streets of Libya.