Another event of historical significance to tell you about.
The BBC reports that the UK formally ended its combat role in Afghanistan today; Reuters reports that the actual date of the withdrawal of forces is not being announced for security reasons. This event holds a significance for me as the mission started in late 2001 as a result of events on 11 September 2001, the very day that I flew to Japan to work for a year. A total of 453 British servicemen and women have died in the operation since 2001. The mission stoked great controversy in the UK but Afghanistan is a much better place than it was in September 2001. I am not sure how much of this will be covered by the history syllabus in Japan when you get to study it in a few years as, whilst Japan did until 2007 provide some logistical support, at no stage were Japanese ground forces committed.
Michael Fallon, the Secretary of State for Defence, who is quoted in the BBC article, was a man that I met and had lunch with almost 20 years’ ago in the summer of 1995 when I was in the Sixth Form. This was not quite before he was famous. He had been MP for the northern seat of Darlington, not all that far from where my father now lives, between 1983 until losing it in 1992. In 1997, he re-entered parliament as MP for Sevenoaks in Kent, again not far from Bromley where we used to live. He was appointed Defence Secretary in July 2014.
It’ll be your birthday next month and Christmas the month after that so hopefully these will be months filled with enjoyment for you and I hope that you receive everything that you have been dreaming of. I have been choosing things to send you for both and will need to get your birthday presents in the post to Japan fairly soon so that they arrive in good time.