Armed Forces Day celebrations take place across UK

Hundreds of veterans, serving personnel and cadets attended Armed Forces Day in Stirling

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Armed Forces Day has been marked with celebrations across the UK.

Hundreds of veterans, serving personnel and cadets joined the Princess Royal and the prime minister for a day of military demonstrations in Stirling, which led the events.

A huge parade of services personnel - young and old - kicked off the proceedings, marching from Stirling Castle to the event grounds nearby.

A Red Arrows display was among a packed timetable of entertainment.

On the scene

The parade began at Stirling Castle under stormy skies, at a place much fought over by the English and the Scots in the late Middle Ages.

That echo of battles past and battles still to come hung in the air as Prime Minister David Cameron stood near Alex Salmond, Scotland's first minister, as Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal took the salute.

Mr Salmond is the man hoping to lead the country to independence this September - in a referendum that's not the only one proving troublesome for Mr Cameron.

During the march past, an Indian-born veteran of the Parachute Regiment, Sergeant Milton Reilly, took the chance to tell Mr Salmond, the Princess Royal and the Prime Minister in person what he thought of the referendum, and his hopes that the UK would remain united, before he was moved along gently by security.

But most here wanted to keep politics out of a day that they say is here to remind the UK of the sacrifices of the UK's armed forces in the past and the present, rather than debate the future.

This afternoon, the Red Arrows will fly overhead - as well as the Battle of Britain memorial flight display, and the Royal Navy Historic flight.

All this, an unspoken reminder that the future of defence in Scotland - from its historic regiments to the nuclear deterrent base in Faslane - is also at stake when Scotland votes in September.

Representatives of the Army, Navy and Air Force took part in the event, the centrepiece of celebrations going on all over the country and at British military outposts abroad.

The day was also marked at Wimbledon, where services personnel were honoured on Centre Court.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond were both on hand as Princess Anne took the salute from a group of veterans leading the 1,000-strong parade from Stirling Castle at 11:30 BST.

They headed through the Old Town and were joined by cadets and serving personnel at the Albert Halls, before making their way to the Royal Parklands.

Tanks and military vehicles were on display throughout the day, with demonstrations by Sea King and Apache helicopters.

Plane enthusiasts were treated to seeing the Lancaster and Spitfire in flight, along with more modern Typhoon and Tornado jets. A demonstration by the Red Arrows stunt team closed the event.

Other displays included Royal Marines fast-roping from helicopters, pipe bands, a parachute display by the Army's Red Devils, an artillery gun salute and troops staging a ground assault complete with casualty evacuations.

The event came on the same day Mr Salmond appointed Scotland's first Veterans Commissioner to provide greater support for services personnel.

Meanwhile, the Queen attended a service honouring volunteers who served in World War One, 100 years on from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo which led to the outbreak of war.

A display by the elite Red Arrows closed the day's events A display by the elite Red Arrows closed the day's events
Stirling march More than 1,000 veterans, cadets and serving personnel took part in the march in Stirling, which led celebrations
Salute Anne Princess Anne and the prime minister greeted service personnel in Stirling
Gun salute An artillery gun salute was fired from Stirling Castle
AFD Wimbledon The armed services were also honoured on Centre Court at Wimbledon

A message from the Queen to mark the event praised the men and women of the forces as "admirable examples of professionalism and courage".

Analysis

It has been a day for celebrating martial prowess, a reminder that the warriors of these islands have been fighting at home and abroad for centuries.

An accident of anniversaries means the centenary of the shots which sparked the First World War fell in the same week as the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

Both events were marked in Scotland today with daring displays and colourful commemorations.

Under the gaze of royalty, the forces of the British state paraded through Stirling while just a few miles away swords clashed as the victory of a Scottish king over the English was re-enacted.

But political hostilities were effectively suspended for a little while as Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond sang hymns together in the sunshine.

It didn't last.

Campaigners for the Union insist a vote for independence in September would throw the armed forces into turmoil, diminish the UK's standing in the world and put thousands of defence jobs at risk.

Their opponents say Scotland would actually be better defended as an independent nation, not least because it would stop spending billions on nuclear weapons and would refrain from fighting "illegal wars".

This battle is nearing its climax.

She added: "Then as now, they perform their duties in often the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances, both at home and overseas."

Politicians were united in voicing their support for the armed services, with rivals Mr Cameron, Ed Miliband and Mr Salmond all present in Stirling.

Mr Cameron said: "A lot of people want to show their respect for the armed forces, what they do, the values they bring to the country and also to say thank you to their families."

In a message on Twitter, Mr Miliband added: "Today we recognise the huge contribution the men and women of our armed forces have made to Britain. Thank you."

Mr Salmond said the events signified the respect for serving soldiers, veterans and military families and their "selfless service to preserve our democratic freedoms".

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, vice chief of the defence staff, said the event was a "very special opportunity" for the services to "unite with the society that we serve".

Organisers estimate the Armed Forces Day event will earn about £1m for the local economy, while boosting Stirling's reputation as a tourist destination.

Armed Forces Day is part of Stirling's "Big Weekend", which includes the Bannockburn Live battle re-enactment weekend, the Pipefest pipe band competition, and a night of open-air performances, entertainment and street art at Stirling's Big Night Out.

AFD display Thousands of spectators flocked to Stirling to see explosive military displays
Cameron AFD Prime Minister David Cameron was in attendance at the opening parade
Salmond/Miliband AFD First Minister Alex Salmond and Labour party leader Ed Miliband were also in Stirling

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  70.  
    Millions tuned in 10:33: Via Twitter BBC Scotland

    tweets: Last night's coverage of the #Glasgow2014 #OpeningCeremony was watched by a peak audience of 9.4m on @BBCOne!! #bbcglasgow2014

     
  71.  
    Opening ceremony - your views 10:24: Via Email

    Ray: The Opening Ceremony had warmth, humour and inclusivity in its organization. Loved it. It was also great to see John Barrowman pronouncing to the world through his same sex kiss, that it's safe to be LGBT in Scotland. Bravo Glasgow, Bravo Scotland, Bravo John Barrowman.

    Lorna: Wonderful event. Great idea to raise money for children, however why did red arrows not show Scottish colours of blue and white instead of red, white and blue?

    Sandra: Thoroughly entertaining display. But the gay kiss was completely unnecessary, with disregard for the feelings or attitudes of many of the other participating countries.

    Anna in Galloway: The first 10 minutes or so were cringeworthy and the singing was dire! It definitely improved as time went on, although I feel I must be alone in the country as I did not like the Scotland team's outfits or "the kiss"!

    Irene in Kinross: Sir Chris Hoy is an honorary Clydesider!!! I loved the way he graciously stepped forward to help with the baton and then stepped back. An example for us all.

    What do you think? Tweet using #ScotlandLive, email us here, or text to 80295.

     
  72.  
    Farah's 'tough' decision 10:04:

    Double Olympic champion Mo Farah has described his decision to pull out of the 5,000m and 10,000m events as Glasgow 2014 as "tough".

    Mo Farah

    Speaking from his training base in the south of France, he added: "I really wanted to add the Commonwealth titles to my Olympic and World Championships but the event is coming a few weeks too soon for me as my body is telling me it's not ready to race yet. Best wishes to my fellow athletes in Glasgow."

    Team England Chef de Mission Jan Paterson said: "It is a real blow for any athlete to miss out on a major championships through injury, but to have fought so hard to regain full fitness and to have to take such a difficult decision at this stage is particularly hard."

     
  73.  
    Farah out of Games 09:58: Via Twitter BBC Sport

    tweets: Team England have confirmed that Mo Farah will not compete at the #Glasgow2014 Commonwealth Games

     
  74.  
    Today's weather 09:55: Gillian Smart BBC Scotland Weather Presenter

    Mist and low cloud will burn off to leave another day of strong sunshine and rising temperatures.

    We'll see 25C to 28C quite widely, with 29C possible in parts of the north and south west. Eastern coasts will be cooler, with haar at times.

    See my full forecast.

     
  75.  
    Glasgow from the sky 09:52:

    Scotland's largest city has changed over the years in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.

    Glasgow from the sky

    BBC Scotland's Chris McLaughlin took to the skies to see how the Games have transformed the city's landscape.

     
  76.  
    BBC at the Quay 09:47: Via Twitter BBC Scotland

    tweets: Here's what we have in store @BBCthequay today: free entry, big screen & comfy deckchairs too!

    BBC at the Quay

    Some tickets are still available here.

     
  77.  
    Opening ceremony - your views 09:36: Via SMS

    Chris in Hamilton: Nicola Benadetti couldn't help smiling as the crowd joined in with her amazing performance of Loch Lomond.

    Calum: Nicola Benedetti was fantastic - shed a tear at that. Not so keen on Barrowman's pantomime singing but I thought it was pretty great and we should be proud.

    Anon: What a great idea to incorporate fundraising for such a good cause into this high profile event

    Letty from Aberdeenshire: Thought it was great, only complaint was Rod Stewart - why? He is not Scottish in any way, Proclaimers would have been better choice.

    Anon: The first part of the ceremony made me cringe with its tweeness. Why is so much Scottish TV so excruciatingly naff? And surely we have some great personalities who could have presented it? Parts of the ceremony were OK though.

     
  78.  
    Baton hitch 09:19:

    It spent ten months travelling around the world, but last night we had to wait just a little longer than expected to hear the Queen read her message from the inside the baton.

    Problem with Queen's Baton at opening ceremony

    Watch as Prince Imran of Malaysia, the Commonwealth Games Federation president, struggles to open the Commonwealth baton.

    Sir Chris Hoy - ever the hero - was on hand to help out, before Prince Imran eventually managed to remove the message much to the relief of the monarch... and the organising committee.

     
  79.  
    Glasgow Kiss 09:11: Via Twitter Nicola Sturgeon

    tweets: So many brilliant moments last night, but the new-style Glasgow Kiss had to be one of the best #openingceremony

    Glasgow kiss
     
  80.  
    Morning call 09:09: BBC Radio Scotland

    This morning, like everybody else, we're talking about last night's opening ceremony. presenter Kaye Adams wants your views: did it represent us the way you would want?

    Elsewhere, two prisoners serving life sentences say rules that bar them from voting in the referendum breach their human rights and are taking their case to the Supreme Court. We're asking: should prisoners be allowed to vote in the referendum?

    Lines are open. Call us on 0500 92 95 00, text 80295 or email morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk.

    You can listen to the debate here.

     
  81.  
    Watch the Highlights 09:00:

    Did you miss it? Want to see the Scottie dogs again?

    Scottie dog

    Take four minutes out of your morning to watch highlights of the Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony.

     
  82.  
    And we're off! 08:46: Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

    Day one of competition has officially started!

    Moments to look out for today include Scotland's Hannah Miley, a swimming gold medallist at the last Games in Delhi, starting the defence of her 400m Individual Medley in the pool just after 10:30.

    Elsewhere, Olympic cycling champion Jason Kenny will take part in the men's sprint at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome at 11:00.

     
  83.  
    Opening ceremony - your views 08:44: Via SMS

    Anonymous: I thought Glasgow put on a fine show last night, and the text for charity at the end was a splendid touch. I sent my £5.

    Paul: I lasted 10 mins b4 heading to A&E to get my toes uncurled.

    Anne-Marie, Edinburgh: So, so proud of you for what you did, Glasgow. You were fantastic!!!

    Anna, St Andrews: Why John Barrowman....? Just cringemaking. Amy Macdonald & co magic!

    Alan, Brechin: Opening ceremony thumbs up, Rod Stewart thumbs down.

    Hil, Glasgow: The Scotland team outfits were incredibly beautiful & inspiring - after all the unjust criticism, designer Jilli Blackwood is to be congratulated.

    Keep them coming... Twitter #ScotlandLive, email newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk, text 80295.

     
  84.  
    Twenty golds to be won 08:36: Via Twitter BBC Sport

    tweets: Day one of #Glasgow2014: Triathlon, cycling & swimming among the Commonwealth games highlights

    BBC Sport day one
     
  85.  
    Today's front pages 08:30:

    Not surprisingly, the Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony dominates Scotland's newspapers this morning.

    The Scotsman front page

    All thought it was a spectacular start to the Games, with the Scotsman's front page proclaiming "Pure dead brilliant", The Herald saying "Shining example" and the Daily Mail praising the "Tartan special".

    See the front pages here.

     
  86.  
    Opening ceremony - your views 08:10: Via Email

    Robert from Ayrshire: Such an amazing spectacle last night from Glasgow, a place I love so dearly. The people are just so friendly - what an 11 days we are going to have in this wonderful country of ours.

    Dmaceach2: As a proud Scot living south of the border, I thought the opening was a stereotype of what Scotland looks like to the rest of the world. Tartan and sea monsters. What a let down. I only hope they'll do us proud in the closing ceremony.

    Caireen McGregor: I have never been prouder of Glasgow after the opening ceremony last night. A very Glaswegian affair. I think it was a spectacular ceremony which was fun yet moving.

    TimR: Well done Glasgow - awesome. So so proud of you all.

    Do you agree? Tweet us using #ScotlandLive, email us here, or text on 80295.

     
  87.  
    Bowled over 07:56: Via Twitter Nicky Campbell Presenter

    tweets: Good morning from the Lawn Bowls from Kelvingrove #CommonwealthGames

    Kelvingrove bowling green

    The matches begin today at 08:45, with Scotland in action against India.

    Watch all the coverage on the BBC Sport website.

     
  88.  
    Murray to keep Mauresmo? 07:49:

    Following Andy Murray's defeat by Grigor Dimitrov at Wimbledon, there has been plenty of speculation about the future of his coach Amelie Mauresmo.

    Following talks between the pair, it's believed Murray will retain the services of the former Wimbledon champion after Mauresmo was pictured at Murray's training camp in Miami.

    Amelie Mauresmo pictured at Andy Murray's training camp
     
  89.  
    Watch live 07:43:

    Michael Jamieson and Sir Bradley Wiggins aren't the only ones getting their medal bids under way today - badminton, bowls and squash also start.

    Falkland Islands Lawn Bowls at Kelvingrove

    Coverage begins on BBC One and BBC Three at 9am, with updates throughout the day on Radio 5 Live and online.

    You can also watch live on BBC iPlayer.

     
  90.  
    From the Twittersphere... 07:30:

    Social media went wild before, during and after the opening ceremony, with many of the stars tweeting selfies from Celtic Park, including Sir Chris Hoy, who hooked up with fellow Scot James McAvoy. Not surprisingly, the Scottie dogs now have their own hashtag...

    Sir Chris Hoy and James MacAvoy

    Read more social media reaction here.

     
  91.  
    Today at the Games 07:20:

    It's the first day of competition at Glasgow 2014, with the first medals be won in the triathlon, cycling, gymnastics, judo, swimming and weightlifting.

    Michael Jamieson

    Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee and his brother Jonny will be going for gold for England in the triathlon at Strathclyde Park, while Sir Bradley Wiggins will be in action for England in the track cycling at 4pm.

    For Scots, the big draw of the day doesn't come till 19:00, when Michael Jamieson is expected to feature in the final of the 200m breastroke. His heats start at 12:30.

     
  92.  
    Latest updates
  93.  
    Glasgow's big night 07:07:

    So, did you see it? Last night's opening ceremony from Celtic Park was a dazzling affair, with everything from Tunnock's Teacakes and Scottie dogs to royalty, SuBo and fireworks.

    Opening ceremony

    But do you think it did Glasgow and Scotland proud?

    We want to hear what you think. Tweet using #ScotlandLive, email us here or text to 80295.

     
  94.  
    Welcome 06:57: Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland Live, your minute-by-minute guide to all the latest news, sport, weather and travel across the country.

    It's the first day of competition at Glasgow 2014, and with so much live action to look forward to we'll be here until 23:00.

    Stay in touch and send us your pictures on Twitter using #ScotlandLive, by email at newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk or by text on 80295.

     

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