Veterans throw away their medals - level 3
“We are here today in protest at the decision to bomb in Syria and to return medals given to us for our participation in previous attacks in the Middle East.”
A group of British war veterans threw down their medals at the gates of Downing Street in disgust at UK bombing in Syria. Last week, Parliament approved air strikes on so-called Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria.
These belong to Veterans for Peace which has 169 members from wars dating back to World War II.
“I don’t understand what these medals are for or what they’re supposed to mean. I joined the army as a teenager, hoping to better myself, and I believe I did that whilst on operations in Afghanistan.
One day, whilst on patrol I was asked to blow a hole in a building, not knowing what was on the other side. I thought to myself, what if… what if there’s a baby, what if it’s there with its mother, what if it’s there with a whole family…
I would much rather live my life not having to deal with the consequences of ‘what if’. That is why I throw these medals back. What if every soldier past and present did this?”
“If you look close enough at these medals, you can see the reflections of dead Iraqis, you can see the embers of Libya and you can see the faces of the men and women of the British Armed Forces who didn’t return and also those who did with lost limbs and shattered souls. I no longer require these medals.”
A Downing Street police officer picked up the discarded medals and said they will be well looked after.
Ben Griffin, the group’s spokesperson, said it was an emotional moment for the ex-soldiers and that veterans do not throw away their medals lightly.
Difficult words: disgust (a strong feeling of dislike), embers (the burned up pieces of stuff after a fire), shattered (broken), discarded (not wanted anymore).
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