Britain has been marking the 25th anniversary of its victory against Argentina in the Falklands conflict. Thousands of veterans are expected to attend the parade in central London, led by the Royal Marines.
It was on June the 14 1982 when Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher celebrated news of the British victory in the Falkland Islands. Large crowds gathered on Downing Street singing and cheering their victorious leader.
The end of the conflict came ten weeks after Argentina invaded the islands. More than 900 people died in the war that was never actually declared by either side. Argentina considered it as reoccupation of its own territory, while the United Kingdom viewed the conflict as an invasion of British territory.
Twenty-five years later, Falklanders welcomed their liberators for the annual celebrations. Hundreds of visitors including Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son paid tribute to the heroes on both sides.
“When I think about the fallen comrades that we lost, I also think about the fallen comrades that the Argentines lost. Because every soldier bears the same respect for the other side’s soldiers. So it is sad for both sides I suppose,” says Kevin Ormond, British Falklands veteran.
Argentina has declined a British invitation to take part in a joint commemoration of the war. Many Argentineans admit the military invasion of the island was a mistake, however most people feel the land belongs to them.
Speaking to crowds on Thursday, the country’s President Nestor Kirchner said the Islands would one day be returned peacefully.
“I want to tell Lady Thatcher that you were able to win the battle because you are a dominant power, but never will you win the reason or the justice that the Malvinas are Argentine and in order for peace they must be returned to Argentina,” the Argentinean leader stated.
When the two countries renewed diplomatic ties in 1990, they agreed not to discuss the outstanding Argentine sovereignty claims. Argentineans still refer to the territory as Malvinas, while Britons know them only as the Falklands.