Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale was amongst the relatives of service personnel from Northern Ireland killed in Afghanistan who travelled to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for a service to rededicate the Bastion Memorial.
The memorial was constructed inside Camp Bastion to remember Armed Forces personnel who lost their lives during the campaign. Following the end of UK combat operations it was deconstructed in late 2014 and has now been recreated at the National Memorial Arboretum.
Speaking as she travelled to Staffordshire, Mrs Hale said: “Today represents the last homecoming from Afghanistan and it is one that no one wanted. It will be another hugely emotional day for all the families who share this common, but unwanted bond of having lost a loved one during Operation Herrick. For me the memorial has a particular poignancy as 2 Rifles were the last Regiment to leave and they held the last Remembrance Service at the memorial in Afghanistan in 2014. It is entirely fitting that the memorial will finally rest at the National Memorial Arboretum and will be a permanent tribute to all our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.”