Belfast Telegraph

We should honour fallen heroes like Aaron

By Lindy McDowell

A picture of Margaret McCormick that has appeared in this paper shows her standing beside her son Aaron, her arm clasped around him. And his around her.

Both their faces shine with pride - as well they might. Aaron, from Coleraine is impeccably kitted out in his Royal Irish Regiment uniform. His mother posing by his side looks happily to the camera with eyes that seem to say: "I'm so proud of my boy."

Like any service parent, somewhere in the back of her mind that day she must have been worried about what the future held for her son about to see service in Afghanistan.

But surely never in her darkest thoughts, as this picture was being taken, would it have occurred to her that it would one day accompany stories not just of her child's death - but of her fight to have his sacrifice properly honoured.

Yet it has ... .

Aaron, who was 20, was killed as he led a team of his comrades searching for improvised explosive devices.

The Coleraine lad made the ultimate sacrifice. Would it be too much to expect that a Government that sends such heroes out to the frontline, that asks them to risk life and limb in its name, would recognise the enormity of that sacrifice? And the scale of the loss felt by those left behind?

After Mrs McCormick spoke of her anger over what she saw as her son's betrayal, a campaign to see all British soldiers killed on active service officially recognised with a military honour has been gathering pace.

Other countries have such an honours system. It really doesn't seem such a big thing to ask.

Aaron McCormick lost his life. His mother lost her son.

She'll never wrap her arms around him again.

The country that Aaron died serving should salute his courage and recognise his sacrifice with the posthumous honour he deserves. How shameful that his grieving mother has had to fight to make them do it.

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