Today is Armed Forces Day but it is like no other. With large gatherings still going against the Covid-19 guidelines, events were cancelled. So, how has the UK celebrated its heroes this year?

Armed Forces Day encourages the UK to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community. This includes those who are currently serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets.

In the year that marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the commemoration was mostly celebrated virtually due to the current situation. It’s the first time in history that the event has been virtual.

Military personnel parade past Britain's Princess Anne, Princess Royal and dignitaries during the national Armed Forces Day celebrations at Llandudno, north Wales on June 30, 2018. - The annual event, which takes place on the the last Saturday of June, honours the men and women of the Armed forces community. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Military personnel parade past Britain’s Princess Anne, Princess Royal and dignitaries during the national Armed Forces Day celebrations at Llandudno, north Wales on June 30, 2018. – The annual event, which takes place on the the last Saturday of June, honours the men and women of the Armed forces community. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP) (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Heartfelt messages

To begin the day, members of the Royal Family and the UK Government joined in paying respect.

When she was Princess Elizabeth, the Queen served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War. 

A message from the Queen was tweeted saying: “The Duke of Edinburgh and I join many around the United Kingdom in celebrating Armed Forces Day, and the efforts of our military both at home and overseas.

“Today provides an opportunity for thanks, and a recognition of the dedication and risks faced by those serving our nation. We also have cause to thank veterans, who continue to contribute to our way of life, long after they leave the Armed Forces.

“Having had members of my family serve in each of the Armed Services, I know only too well of the pride Service personnel take in their duty. As your Commander-in-Chief, I send my warmest best wishes to you all, your families, and the entire Armed Forces community. Elizabeth R.”

Richard Jones, Britain’s Got Talent Winner 2016, soldier and magician also shared a message on Twitter. He said: “I’ve been very lucky to have had an exciting and rewarding career in the British Army and got to work with many incredible people.

“Our Armed Forces are always ready to help our nation at a moments notice.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also posted a video reflecting on their work and “proudly saluting them.”

TOPSHOT – The British Royal Air Force (RAF) aerobatic team, the ‘Red Arrows’ perform manoeuvres at the Indian Air Force Academy, Dundigal on the outskirts of Hyderabad on November 17, 2016. – The RAF Aerobatic team is on a visit to India as a part of a major 60-day tour of the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM / AFP) (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)

Red Arrows in the sky

On the morning, the Red Arrows flew over Scarborough, where official celebrations were due to be held. They could also be seen over the British Army’s Catterick Garrison, and RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire.  

A live video was streamed on the Armed Forces official Facebook page. Everyone, no matter where they were, could watch the Red Arrows fly over Scarborough. In the video, it was confirmed that the usual events are planned to take place in 2021.

Digital Armed Forces celebrations

Military bands also performed music via the Armed Forces official Facebook and Twitter pages. The bands are often enjoyed at popular events across the country.

Some individual towns also used the internet to host mini events online.

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