Stirling to host Armed Forces Day ahead of referendum

A parade on Armed Forces Day
Image caption Armed Forces Day has been marked by hundreds of events around the UK since 2009. One city is chosen to host the national celebration.

The national event for Armed Forces Day is to be held in Stirling next year ahead of the independence referendum.

UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the event would help underline the strength of the union.

Scotland's veterans minister, Keith Brown, said he was not concerned with the UK government's motivation for bringing the event to Scotland.

He said the Scottish government was just glad to be hosting the national day - held annually in June since 2009.

Over the past four years Armed Forces Day has been marked by hundreds of local events around the UK.

It is the second time the national event will be held in Scotland, after Edinburgh played host in 2011.

'Testament to Stirling'

Mr Hammond said the events represented what was best about the UK.

"They remind us in a very graphic way that we are stronger together.

"Britain, the United Kingdom and Scotland benefit from the scale and the power and the capability of our armed forces.

"And I know that the people in Scotland have a deep affection for the armed forces."

Mr Brown said there was "no patience" for bringing politics into such events.

"I'm just delighted that the event is returning to Scotland," he said.

"I think that's a testament both to Stirling and also to the success of Armed Forces Day in 2011."

The event highlights the role Britain's armed forces play in national life.

A member of the Royal family will be present to witness the parades, medal ceremonies and a military fly past.

Stirling Provost Mike Robbins said the city was "tremendously proud" to be chosen to host the celebrations.

"We can now look forward to a truly spectacular set of events next June," he said.

The people of Scotland will vote next September on whether the country should leave the United Kingdom.

They will be asked the straight yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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