Page last updated at 14:02 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 15:02 UK

Veterans Day celebration unveiled

Army medals
Veterans Day is held to commemorate the efforts of ex servicemen

The country's oldest ex-serviceman was among those gathered at Stirling Castle to mark the launch of this year's Veterans Day programme.

Former Royal Engineer, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Saunders, aged 101, joined other veterans at the event.

Stirling is set to become the focus of the annual commemorations, which will culminate in an Army pipers Trail procession on 12 July.

The launch comes in the week of the 64th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

There are currently about half a million veterans living in Scotland.

The ex servicemen and women were joined by Veterans Scotland chairman Ron Smith and children from local schools, charities, and serving soldiers.

Mr Smith used the launch to call for improvements to the services offered to veterans.

He said: "Those who serve in the Armed Forces work to provide a better world for us all, at home and abroad.

"But for those who suffer injuries and illnesses as a result of their service, life outside the forces can sometimes be tough.

"Improvements in care for Scottish veterans have been made recently, but more can be done, and all agencies are working together to make progress."

Defence Secretary Des Browne has said he will attend the event on 12 July.

He said: "Anyone who has served in the UK Armed Forces, Regular and Reserves, is a veteran, whatever their age or military experience young and old, male and female.

"They are valued members of Scotland's communities, and younger generations can take inspiration from their courage, strength, bravery, fortitude and spirit. We can all learn a great deal from them."

Current conflicts

In addition to hosting the 12 July parade, an RAF Tornado is also scheduled to perform a flypast at Stirling.

The Ministry of Defence has announced it will provide 90,000 to help with the cost of staging the event.

The city will also premiere the UK's first ever Veterans Film festival, showing wartime classics and modern takes on current conflicts.

Speaking at Stirling Castle, the city's provost, Fergus Wood urged members of the public to take part in the events.

He added: "Scotland and its people played significant roles throughout various conflicts, and many sacrificed their lives.

"We must all continue to remember and pay tribute to them."

Events are also planned across Scotland, including a Veterans Day military parade in Aberdeen and Dundee.

There will also be a concert in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens.

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