The Sun myView: “Our boys weren’t just Tommies – they were Tariqs and Tajinders too”
By Baroness Warsi
IN two years’ time it will be 100 years since the First World War began.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister launched the commemoration events for the centenary.
It’s a milestone which, I believe, will bring our nation closer together than ever before. Possibly closer than the Olympics, the Jubilee and the Royal Wedding.
Why? Because there is not a single person in this country who does not owe a debt to our war heroes.
Their legacy is our liberty.
And there should not be a single person, whatever their background, who should feel ‘left out’ of these commemorations.
Because whatever our class, colour or creed, our brave troops fought for freedom that we all enjoy.
As the Minister with responsibility for integration, I am determined that the centenary commemorations are inclusive and inspiring.
I also want us to honour our forgotten heroes.
Because it wasn’t just ‘our boys’ defending Britain; it was our girls too – millions of women working in munitions factories, tilling the land and holding the fort back home.
And ‘our boys’ on the front line weren’t just Tommies; they were Tariqs and Tajinders as well – one million Indian soldiers fighting and dying for our country.
There were also black British Soldiers, like the iconic footballer Walter Tull, who died in 1918 as he helped his men retreat in heavy gunfire.
These are the people we must remember – people who everyone in today’s Britain can relate to.
I’m sure the far right will try and get their grubby hands on this moment, just as they try to own our Union flag.
When I went head to head with BNP leader Nick Griffin on Question Time – the first time his party was given an airing on the Beeb – he was slapped down for stealing patriotism for his own racist ends.
As the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, I proudly bang the drum for Britain’s heritage, because it’s mine too.
After all, both my grandfathers fought with the Allies.
I am also proud to serve in a government which respects our troops and resources them properly, honouring our Military Covenant.
So two years from now, 100 years since the Great War began, let us all come together under one flag to remember what our heroes did for every single one of us.