FLAGS have been raised across the area to honour those who serve the country and mark the start of Armed Forces Week.
One celebratory event was held by Havant Borough Council this morning, which invited members of the Armed Forces community to attend the flag-raising.
In a short address, mayor Diana Patrick said: ‘We are extremely proud of all our Armed Forces men and women, past and present, who continue to serve our country with honour and distinction.
‘I am delighted that we have this opportunity to show our appreciation, support and respect for all that they do and recognise the sacrifices that so many make for the country.’
Mayor’s cadet Katelin Hughes, 16, was chosen to read a poem entitled Tell Their Stories before the flag was raised.
She said: ‘I was kind of nervous but it’s really important to me because my family were part of the Royal Navy.
‘[This event] was really respectful to the people who fought for us to keep us safe.’
David Fuller, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, launched another event with a speech about Portsmouth’s community, giving thanks to members of the Armed Forces.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, read the poem A Salute to our Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen.
Children from Solent Junior and Infant Schools then read poems they had written, including nine-year-old Leo Howard who got a photo with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress.
Aisia Howard, Leo’s mum, said: ‘It was lovely to see the children showing their appreciation as well as others in the community for our great Armed Forces.’
Armed Forces Day takes place on Saturday, June 29, with plenty of events happening across the area to mark this.
This includes a parade and a flag-raising ceremony in Gosport’s High Street from 10.45am to 11.15am, with activities at Walpole Park from 10am to 4pm.
Portsmouth will mark the day in the Historic Dockyard from 10am to 5.30pm, showcasing cadet organisations, rifle displays and music including The Military Wives Choir.
On Hayling Island, an Armed Forces Revival Festival takes place from 9am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, including vintage cars, armed vehicles and music.