Driving into work this morning, I was listening to the radio when a story caught me by surprise for a number of reasons.
A soldier, home on leave from Afghanistan for medical reasons, tried to check into a hotel by himself for a few days holiday. When he shows his warrant card, however, he is told that the hotel has a policy not to take serving forces personnel as guests, and he is asked to leave. You can read more about the story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7596798.stm
Now, to take the PoV of the hotel for a moment, they may have a good reason for this policy. It may be that they have had problems in the past with forces members, and a blanket ban was their way of dealing with it. Why, then, does the hotel just say that is the case an apologise for any embarrassment caused? Because, right now, they are saying nothing.
There is, I feel, a more fundamental problem here of respect. Yes, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are unpopular here in the UK, and yes we have the right to voice whatever views we have on that. Forces personnel, however, are volunteers doing a job, and they deserve some respect for that. I say that not just as an Army Brat (which I am) but also as a human being whose brother is serving in the Army.
There may be many things I don't like about America, but their forces personnel are treated with the utmost respect and courtesy, and they don't face these issues. Heck, they walk down the street proudly in their uniforms. Here? Forces members are told NOT to wear their uniforms in nearby towns because they have been attacked just for being proud of their units.
Is it too much to ask for a little respect for these people? Because if it is, we have crossed a very dangerous and sorry line.