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British military to serve as flagbearers for Olympics

03-10-2012 09:38 BJT

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The organizing committee of the London Olympic games have selected the flagbearers for this Summer’s showcase, and it has chosen a group people who have pledged their lives to the defense of their nation. 176 men and women from the British military will be the flagbearers at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The group was chosen for their operational dedication or involvement with charity or sport...and as Catherine Drew reports, for those selected, it’s a great honor but...it’s also a way to salute the military at a time of heavy losses in Afghanistan.

Amid all the visitors and tourists to the vantage point of the Olympic site in East London, one group stands out. Unknown to those around them, these men and women have been selected from thousands to be the flag bearers at key ceremonies. It’s a role the military know well.

Warrant Officer Paul Barker, Ceremony Trainer, Royal Navy, said, "There is a tradition in the royal Navy to raise and lower flags however however with the tri service element, we will be teaching everybody the same drill and we’re going to do that just before the Olympics starts."

Ceremonial duties might be routine for these servicemen and women but it is considered a great honor, bestowed on individuals for their contribution either in the field of operations, sport or community work. One flag bearer has an interesting family connection to the Olympics.

Lieutenant Alex Davis, Royal Navy, said, "I’ve sailed in a Royal Navy sailing team for a number of years but also I think I’ve got a fantastic family link in that my father in 1972 so it’s a great opportunity for me to put something back into the Olympic movement that has brought us so much pride as a family over the years.

That 1972 gold medal was awarded in the sport of sailing and Lieutenant Davis’ father will be visiting the sailing centre at weymouth as a spectator this year. One thing the chosen appeared to have in common was an impressive array of their own medals.

Squadron Leader Andy Coe, Royal Air Force, said, "All of us have been pretty busy recently so you’ll see most of the armed forces now sporting the sort of hard ware I have hear. This piece here is when we were in Iraq as part of the United Nations no-fly zone. The next one is when we liberated Iraq."

Perhaps one of the most dramatic stories belongs to Lieutenant Harnish Patel of the Royal Navy, who, before joining the military, got caught up in the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008.

Lieutenant Harnish Patel, Royal Navy, said, "I had been shot by terrorists through my left leg to my right and in my chest and it was a long journey coming from a walking frame and crutches to running a London marathon in 2010 and one later this year."

The 176 chosen flag bearers are all being recognized for their individual achievements but Olympic organizers say it’s also a very public tribute to the brave men and women that make up the country’s armed forces.

"These flag-bearing teams will certainly be put through their paces during the Olympic, taking part in 100 Welcoming Ceremonies and 805 Victory Ceremonies where the national anthems are played, the flags are raised. Catherine Drew, CCTV, London."

 

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: CNTV.CN

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