This picture was taken a few years after my departure from the UK Armed Forces. I took to the streets marching with past and present serving members, to a clapping and cheering general public. Why were they clapping us?
This picture was published of me. I am marching behind a serving Royal Marine. The Journalist labelled me a hero, yet; never knew my name.
The journalist was not in Afghanistan with me. He or she did not know what happened there or what I did there. Who are they to call me a hero? Did they label me a hero because I was wearing a Royal Marines beret? Or is it because I have a medal for service in Afghanistan pinned to my chest?
This admiration for our ‘heroism’ only distracts from the true reason why we attend remembrance parades. To remember those who have fought and died.
We must open our eyes and see that the hero caricature is imposed on our armed forces of today to fool us into supporting wars that do not need to be fought.
I did not die, thus my duty as a survivor is to bring awareness to the cruel reality of conflict, if not, I am doing a great injustice to those who did die.
My obedience and service was abused. I was lied to and lead to believe our reasons were just. I did not serve queen or country. I participated in a conflict that has inevitability brought more harm to people of this country. The country I swore to protect.
I am not a hero.
Ben Wright served with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan and is now a member of Veterans For Peace UK