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We must honour our debt to the armed forces

In Northern Ireland, perhaps more than in other parts of the UK, we know the debt we owe to the men and women of our armed forces.

Last Friday's service at St Paul's Cathedral in tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those injured and those who served in Afghanistan, was also a time for us to remember the families left behind and their need for practical support.

In recent years, Armed Forces Day has been a way for the public to show support and the Military Covenant is regarded as significant within the services.

These are commendable and should be supported, but the greatest lesson we need to learn is sensible support for those left behind; adults or children.

The freedom we enjoy comes at a high cost. The price we must pay before asking servicemen and women to put the needs of the nation before their own is that we will value, respect and maintain their families.

This should be an integral part of our debt of gratitude.

ROBIN NEWTON (DUP)

MLA for East Belfast

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