COMMENT: Flag-flying shows how deeply the wounds run
The Falklands War ended 37 years ago, but the scars, in the home of the Royal Navy, clearly run deep.
All credit to the management of the Dockyard Bar in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth, for listening to the concerns of a Falklands veteran who was upset to see the symbol of his erstwhile enemy fluttering in the breeze as part of a promotion for the Rugby World Cup.
Mark Harris, who served as a Royal Marine Commando in the 45 Commando Group during the conflict, said it was ‘ridiculous’ to be flying the flag of Argentina in Portsmouth.
He said: ‘My main battle was Two Sisters, and we lost a few good men along the way, which is why the Argentinian flag flying caught me unawares.
Mark approached the management and did not ask them to remove the flag entirely, merely to move it inside.
But they took it down and replaced it with the Irish flag.
They apologised to Mark and said they wanted to ensure that no offence was caused .
Mark clearly felt strongly on the issue, and was right to stand up for what he believed in.
But where to draw the line? The world has shrunk in the past century, and globalism is the name of the game.
Thousands died in two world wars, but today nobody would now think twice about displaying the German flag at international events in Britain, and rightly so.
We must not detract from Mark’s deeply-held beliefs. He saw the grim realities of war in the Falklands conflict. He saw bloodshed and lost friends and comrades.
As he said: ‘ In life if you don’t stand up for certain things people walk all over you.
‘Others honestly don’t realise it may cause offence, so polite education often resolves most matters.’
The wounds of war will clearly take many more years to heal, but heal they must.