Hundreds of British ex-servicemen and women gathered in Birmingham to mark National Veterans' Day.
Veterans recalled the 25th anniversary of the Falklands conflict
A Spitfire aircraft was among the military equipment displayed during celebrations in Victoria Square.
Minister for Veterans Derek Twigg presented five Veterans' Badges and met the families of service personnel who died in the line of duty.
Mr Twigg said the day was "our chance to recognise the service and achievements of armed forces veterans".
'Leadership and ability'
Earlier, the minister watched a Tornado flypast at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire, and watched as school children were drilled by sergeant majors.
He said that this year's Veterans Day was especially significant because of the Falklands conflict's 25th anniversary.
Mr Twigg added: "Veterans contribute massively to local communities through their leadership and ability to get things done.
"Veterans have served their country with pride and they have honoured their commitment to defend its interests."
The celebrations begin five days of commemoration of the sacrifices made by servicemen and women.