THE mother of a Coleraine soldier killed in Afghanistan two years ago says she won’t give up in her battle to have wounded or killed service men and women decorated by the British Government.
Speaking exclusively to The Coleraine Times last week, Margaret McCormick, whose son Aaron was killed in Helmand in November 2010 says she is angry with Prime Minister David Cameron’s string of knock backs about her proposal.
22-year-old Ranger Aaron McCormick had been helping to clear an area of improvised explosive devices during a patrol when he was killed in an explosion.
The former Coleraine Inst pupil was on his second tour of duty, serving with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment.
Margaret believes that the British Government should honour members of the British Forces who are injured or killed on duty with a decoration similar to the Purple Heart awarded by the President to US Forces.
“I have lobbied local MLAs and the MP for the area Gregory Campbell,” said Margaret.
“I also met with Owen Patterson at Hillsborough Castle, and I told him about my idea.
“Mr Patterson was over the moon about it, and he told me he would push it all he could.
“However, Prime Minister David Cameron has knocked the idea back on every occasion.
“I just think that these brave soliders deserve a thank you for what they have given.
“Unfortunately so many have given the ultimate sacrifice.”
Margaret says she has spoken to families who have lost sons and daughers, and members of the British Forces who have been seriously injured,, and that they are “all on for it.”
“I am good friends with Belfast man Andrew Allen, who lost both his legs and suffered serious sight problems when he was caught up in an explosion in Afghanistan.
“He told me that the medal would mean so much to him.
“I have looked into the cost of producing a medal, and it is pennies, but these pennies would mean so much to these soliders and their families.”
The McCormick family were presented with the Elizabeth Cross, a commemorative emblem given to the recognised next of kin of members of the British Armed Forces killed in action.
However, Margaret says: “Aaron’s Elizabeth Cross was given to me, but I didn’t serve in Afghanistan.
“My son lost his life and he got nothing.
“I just think that these brave men and women deserve something from the Government as a thank you for what they have given.
I won’t give up my fight for them. “