Armed Forces Flag day: Honouring the sacrifice of soldiers
Armed Forces Flag Day is marked in India every year on December 7 to honour martyrs and the men in uniform who serve India. Citizens are urged to make voluntary contributions towards the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund for the welfare of personnel and ex-servicemen, their family members and also to rehabilitate those injured in wars.
Appealing people to contribute in Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF) to honour sacrifices made by soldiers in the line of duty, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh on December 2 announced that ‘Armed Forces Flag Day’ would be celebrated throughout December. “The Centre and states along with Sainik Board will celebrate ‘Armed Forces Flag Day’ throughout December. It’s our national responsibility to support families of our security personnel, who have lost their lives or suffered injuries in the line of duty,” Singh said while speaking to news agency ANI.
To celebrate the day, all three branches of the Indian armed forces - the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy - arrange a variety of shows, carnivals, dramas and other entertainment programmes to showcase to the general public the efforts of their personnel to ensure national security.
The day was first observed on December 7, 1949. That year, the then government attempted to involve the common people to contribute to the welfare of the defence personnel. After the country gained Independence, there was an imminent shortage of funds for the welfare of armed forces. On August 28, 1949, a committee set up under the defence minister decided to observe a Flag Day annually on December 7. The committee had suggested that it would distribute flags to the citizens in exchange of them contributing to the fund for armed forces personnel.
The Indian Armed Forces Flag Day is mainly observed to rehabilitate those wounded in wars, for the welfare of serving soldiers and their families and the welfare of ex-servicemen and their families. Also, the money collected is used for providing help to the ex-servicemen who are battling serious health issues including heart ailments, cancer, and joint replacement, etc.
According to the ministry of defence, each year around 60,000 defence personnel are compulsorily retired, to keep the armed forces young. They are released between 35-40 years of age and they are physically fit and young. Therefore, caring for these ex-soldiers and their families is a national responsibility.