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Queen Pays Tribute to Armed Forces

June 26, 2002

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LONDON (AP) _ Queen Elizabeth II, celebrating 50 years on the British throne, paid tribute Wednesday to the country’s armed forces, particularly those who have recently carried out operations against terror cells in Afghanistan.

In a Golden Jubilee message broadcast worldwide on the British Forces Broadcasting Service, the queen said threats to national and world security had changed over the last 50 years but the threat of conflict remained.

``I am pleased to have the opportunity, on the occasion of this Golden Jubilee, to pay a special tribute to the men and women of the armed forces, and to express my personal appreciation for the support which you have given me, and my family, over many years,″ she said.

``I spoke earlier this year of the timeless values which characterize Britain: moderation, tolerance, and service to others. These characteristics, as well as others _ courage, dignity and pride _ are especially apparent, and highly regarded, in the armed forces.″

The queen singled out ``the men and women of all three services engaged in the campaign against international terrorism, particularly those involved in operations in Afghanistan, or deployed at sea in the region.

``I acknowledge, too, the work of the airmen and airwomen who, with others, are helping defend those in northern and southern Iraq; and the work of those recently in service in Sierra Leone or East Timor, or deployed in peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere.

``And of course I would like to send my greetings to all of you undertaking the customary, but vital, military tasks at home, be it in our airspace and seas, in Northern Ireland, or in the Falklands and other dependent territories.″

Elizabeth took the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, after the death of her father, King George VI.

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