On Tuesday (14), the 40th anniversary of Argentina’s surrender, which ended 74 days of lightning conflict, the United Kingdom commemorated soldiers killed in the Falklands War and reasserted its territorial control over the islands.
The Royal British Legion held a ceremony for soldiers, relatives of deceased soldiers and civilian support staff at the National Memorial Arboretum in central England.
The law covers a direct link to a similar event that took place in 1982 at the tomb of Port Stanley, the capital of the archipelago where Argentine forces surrendered on June 14, 1982.
Earlier, British Foreign Secretary Lis Truss paid tribute to the soldiers and said “Britain will always remember their efforts and sacrifices to liberate the island nation.”
“Today, the Falklands thrive as part of the British family. They are an autonomous foreign territory that is a shining beacon of freedom and democracy,” he added.
Despite the regional claims of Buenos Aires, the British government’s support for the Falklands has not always been under every Prime Minister who has ruled England since the conflict.
Comparing the landing of the Argentine military junta four decades ago with the current Russian occupation of Ukraine, Truss said he would “never hesitate” to defend the islands.
“Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has shaken the presumption that peace and stability are inevitable,” he said in a video posted on Twitter. “We must be vigilant wherever there are threats to freedom, sovereignty and the right to self-determination.”
– Physical and Psychological Consequences –
The then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced the surrender of the London Parliament, defending the relevance of what many considered to be a very dangerous decision: sending nearly 30,000 troops around the world to regain control of the islands. Ownership continues to be claimed by Argentina.
British troops at the time returned to the United Kingdom from an autonomous foreign territory that experienced a patriotic impetus in the midst of a social and economic downturn that allowed the controversial Thatcher to run for re-election in 1983.
Argentine troops occupied the archipelago on April 2, launching a war that killed 649 Argentines, 255 British soldiers and three civilian women.
Many victims on both sides were not properly buried.
Forty years later, the islands, almost 13,000 kilometers from London, are still vividly remembered by British soldiers.
In the UK and the Falklands, April 2, the anniversary of the beginning of the conflict, went largely unnoticed. The islanders feel that the Argentine invasion is not something to be celebrated.
Throughout the year, however, events were organized in the country to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Lightning War, which culminated in Independence Day on June 14, a holiday in the islands.
An association known as the South Atlantic Medal unites all British soldiers who fought in the conflict, with the participation of all divisions of the United Kingdom Armed Forces for the first time since World War II.
Carol Betteridge, a veteran relief organization called Help for Heroes, recalled that “for many of those who have fought so far from home, the physical and mental injuries they suffered during the conflict affect them not just on birthdays, but every day.”
“Because of the lack of adequate support for their mental health, many Falkland players have buried their problems and ‘moved’ as they expected,” said Betteridge, the organization’s director of medical and medical services.
“That is why, 40 years later, we still have veterans from the Falklands who come to us for help in overcoming the psychological trauma they have long fought for,” he adds.
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