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Sweden proposes veterans memorial day

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 19 Mar 2010, 08:24

Published: 19 Mar 2010 08:24 GMT+01:00

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"Despite the fact that Sweden has conducted military operations overseas for more that 60 years we have not had any coordinated policy for veteran soldiers," the defence minister Sten Tolgfors argued in an opinion article in the Dagens Nyheter daily on Friday.

Tolgfors stated that the Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) will now be given an indefinite responsibility to care for former soldiers and announced the establishment of a new veteran soldier unit to attend to their needs.

The new unit will be established at the Armed Forces' headquarters with personal contacts allocated to individual veterans and their relatives. The government has also decided that injured soldiers will now be offered support for as long as they need it, removing the current five year limit.

Furthermore soldiers will be offered help in contact with social services and municipalities to enable reintegration into society after completion of service.

"But a policy for veteran soldiers is also about showing recognition for the efforts which have been made for Sweden and for peace," Tolgfors wrote, announcing that a memorial will be commissioned and a remembrance day established for all of Sweden's veterans.

Sweden has been involved in military operations overseas since 1948. A total of 81 Swedes have lost their lives, with 16 dying in combat. Among the operations with Swedish troop deployment are named Korea, Kosovo, the Gulf of Aden (Somalia) and Afghanistan, where the country keeps a force of 500 troops.

The minister used the Afghanistan operation to exemplify the type of courage and commitment of the Swedish troops that warrant the establishment of May 29th as a memorial day.

"Few people earn our respect as those who participate in the Armed Forces' international operations for peace," Sten Tolgfors wrote.

Story continues below…

The minister conceded that the government support for veteran soldiers has not been adequate and promised that the new proposition will address this issue.

The minster underlined that an efficient policy for veteran soldiers is built on the provision of support for soldiers currently in the field and argued that "soldiers and their relatives should never feel that the support from home falters when the going gets tough."

The minister concluded that while Sweden has always taken its international responsibility as a force for peace, the country will now also take its responsibility for the individuals who conduct those operations.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:17 March 19, 2010 by tigger007
it's good to have sweden support their veterans,but come on! 80 soldiers died in 60years(1.5 died every year)veterans day are for true soldiers of war not peace keepers. this really makes me think about sweden and it's politicial correctness.

sweden won't you just rename yourself swedica after your big brother!!
10:40 March 19, 2010 by salalah
Good Idea, nice that people who fight for peace will be honored
10:57 March 19, 2010 by Åskar
What a piece of crap! Do they really want to turn Sweden into the same kind of belligerent society as the USA where people think that the sun shines out of the arses of eedjits who enlist into the armed forces just to cry "I wanna get out" when they relise that they are shot at.
11:04 March 19, 2010 by byke
Well it may make, national pride.

But if the truth be told its just a cheap patriotic symbolism used to bolster votes with no real over head costs.

Maybe sweden should honor the politicians instead who haven't taken their people into war instead.
11:15 March 19, 2010 by tigger007
good comment byke.

and to the others get spell check and also gramma check!

åskar i can tell that you never served in the armed forces,with a useless comment like that. it's the belligerent arses of eedjits(as you call it) that pulled europe out of WW11. show some respect you dusche bag!
11:19 March 19, 2010 by Audrian
I agree with Askar.

I think this is the beginning of militarization of foreign policy. There was a suggestion for creating voluntary military and now we are asked to romanticize war. Soldiers who suffer during time of service can be honored by adequately compensating them. The loud trumpeting of their services is nothing more than the glorification of the art of war and killing.
11:37 March 19, 2010 by Åskar
@tigger007, your are quite right. I have never done any military service and that's something I am very proud of.
11:47 March 19, 2010 by EtoileBrilliant
Regardless of the merits. Please can we have a public holiday in Q3 or Q4. I was lamenting to my wife that between the second week of August and the first week of November there are no holidays for the chidren during the Autumn school term.
11:57 March 19, 2010 by Sjayna
What a surprise that Sweden establish a 'Veteran day' as a part of the swedish military operation called War...oh sorry, I mean 'Peace' Mission ... Why not even have a military parad at the same day?! Of course Sweden should be proud that it takes its responsibility as a force for WAR ...in the name of Peace, of course..sure...And what a surprise that soldiers can loose their lives...Sorry Tolgfors, there are many people who earn my respect, but never these gifted veterans, really not.
12:40 March 19, 2010 by Mpf
Why shouldn't they honour those that have given their life? Whether in war, on operations or just doing their duties while serving their country.

I will certainly honour them, the rest of you forget the sacrifice some brave people make so you can live in a free society provided by these brave people who have given so much just so that you can rant freely here on the internet and say what a bad world and society we live in.

Sometimes sacrafices have to be made, just be glad you weren't the one to have made it.

So what if 1.5 men/women died over the last 60 years that is still 80 too many, what about those who dies during the other conflicts over hundreds of years. Remember them with pride.

What have the rest of you, who are so against supporting this patriotic event, done to hold your heads high and be so mighty?

I think it is a good idea and long over due.
13:23 March 19, 2010 by AirForceGuy
I can't believe some of these comments. If it werent't for the armed forces (mostly of other countries like Canada, US and UK) you pacifists would probably all now be speaking German or Russian. And you wouldn't be free or have any personal rights at all! (Can't we all get along? Let's all gather around in a circle and sing Kumbaya)
13:40 March 19, 2010 by calebian22
This is great news! A soldier who is injured or killed in defense of his or her country should have the respect of the citizenry. In Sweden's case, since most of it's deaths and injuries have been related to UN peace keeping missions, the soldiers have lost their lives or been injured in defense of foreign citizens. Some might argue that their sacrifice is even greater since it was in defense of another country.

All you haters: I hope one day you find yourself in need of defense and it is not available to you.
15:47 March 19, 2010 by Audrian
Re: AirforceGuy

I fully concur it is the duty of citizens to fight in defense of Sweden. US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan to protect its strategic and economic interests. The two countries have not invaded Sweden or any countries for that matter.

How in the world would it benefit Swedish interest by killing other people who have not infringed Swedish sovereignty?
16:23 March 19, 2010 by WelshSwede
Tigger007, pulled Europe out WW2. im assuming your American, never pulled us out of it and considering America has only won one war and that was the Civil one.
19:11 March 19, 2010 by calebian22
The only war America ever won is the Civil War? Good Grief, Welsh Swede! I hope you are not a product of Swedish schooling, considering my daughter is now studying here.
20:25 March 19, 2010 by bettan1
The biggest farce and cover up is that Sweden was neutral during World War II. Clearly this birth place of everything "Lebensborn" whole heartedly supported the 3rd Reich's quest for world dominance. Over ten thousand Swedes volunteered for fighting in Finnish Armies in "Operation Barbarosa" against Soviets. How about all the Swedish Elites who joined the Waffen SS (Viking Division) ????????



Not to mention involvement in profiteering off the Nazi Death Machine. Most all of Germany's Iron Ore came from Sweden. Factory machining of fine tuned industrial parts like ball bearings, etc. Seems they opted for materialism over principal. Then let's not forget the article here in "The Local" itself that exposed the government document of money loaned to Berlin in 1941.

Yeah they were neutral.
21:24 March 19, 2010 by Mpf
If this is what Sweden wants who are we to disagree as visitors to this great country who welcome us with open arms. Those that don't like the idea and are not Swedish should keep their comments to themselves or pack their bags and bugger off to a country that don't honour their service dead, may I suggest the middle east! You are visitors to this country and should respect their decisions especially those concerning patriotism towards their own fallen servicemen and women.
04:26 March 20, 2010 by Greg in Canada
In Canada our Veteran's Day honours the dead from WW1 and WW2. Considering that Sweden was neutral in both world wars this does seem a little strange.
12:52 March 20, 2010 by Göran Eklund
We haven't had any veteran soldiers here since 1809, Runeberg's "Fänrik Stål", so why start now?
03:57 March 22, 2010 by Carbarrister
My father spent 6 years in the Swedish Cavalry in the 20's and then 4 more in the US Army Air Corps in the

Pacific during WWII. His brother from Karlskoga also served in the Swedish Army in the 20's fought the German's with the Norwegian resistance. They are both long gone but would be proud to have a Veteran's Memorial Day.

They would be ashamed by many of the smug comments expressed .
21:50 March 22, 2010 by americanska
This is amazing. What people learn in the british and/or swedish school systems.

Actually - I assume it's the lack of what they learn in school. Then they grow with hippie parents that hated the US because of pure envy. "Damn those americans and their purchasing power. Damn them for saving us in the WW2 - we could have been the nazi power."
12:50 March 25, 2010 by uunbeliever
War is never a good idea and should be shunned and pointed at like fat people and smokers.
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