Times are a'changin'.
The Danish public have always looked with quite a lot of skepticism on the military. Ether they thought that the soldiers were bumbling idiots of the Keystone variety, or the servicemen were bloodthirsty maniacs (although still idiots.)
I spend several years in the army back in the 80s at the heydays of the "peace movement" when I couldn't tell anyone I didn't know that I was a professional soldier lest I got personally responsible for the deployment of Pershing missiles, or little old me would provoke the Soviets to unleash Nuclear Armageddon.
This seems to have slowly changed as the army has shown great professionalism and fighting skills in Afghanistan, demanding the respect of the general public.
For the first time in years a parade was performed to celebrate the return of a battalion rotated out of Afghanistan. People actually cheered and applauded the soldiers:
People lined the streets of Holstebro yesterday to welcome home the Danish troops who recently returned from their tour of duty in Afghanistan
Spontaneous applause greeted the 600 soldiers returning from their tour of duty with the Nato-led Afghanistan mission yesterday, as they took part in an official parade through the streets of Holstebro, northern Jutland.
Defence Minister Søren Gade attended the parade and was surprised by the reaction of the crowd.
‘When people suddenly started to clap it was like an out of body experience for me. If I had said five or six years ago that people would applaud returning Danish soldiers, people would have thought I was drunk. It really was a moving experience,’ said Gade.
There was also time set aside to remember the six members of the deployed team who lost their lives in Afghanistan. Major General Niels Bundsgaard asked for a minute’s silence to remember the fallen at the local Dragoon Regiment Barracks.
Please include these six men who paid the ultimate price for our freedom in your prayers. I for one salute them and their comrades in arms.