Thousands attend Armed Forces Day
Hundreds of events are taking place in towns and cities around the UK to mark the first ever Armed Forces Day.
Thousands are joining in with the celebrations intended to thank serving troops, their families and veterans for their contribution.
A national event is currently taking place at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, Kent.
About 200 serving members of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF paraded through the town along with hundreds of veterans.
Some 30,000 spectators turned up to the event, which will also include fly-pasts by the Red Arrows and the RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial display team.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and the Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, are among the attending dignitaries.
When asked about the public's perception of troops, Sir Jock said there would always be a "tiny minority" who reacted negatively to the military.
"I believe people in this country distinguish between the missions and the Armed Forces themselves," he said.
Members of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF took part in the Chatham parade
"People have always appreciated their Armed Forces but we have not always in the past given that appreciation the tangible expression it needs.
"That's changed over the past few years and I think this is just a reflection of that."
During his speech at a lunch reception, the prime minister announced next year's Armed Forces Day would take place in Cardiff.
Both the Queen and the Prince of Wales sent messages of "deep and enduring gratitude" to Britain's past and present soldiers, sailors and airmen and women.
The Queen was in Edinburgh, where she presented campaign medals to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards as the regiment's Colonel-in-Chief.
In addition to the national event, concerts and parades are being held in towns and cities, including Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester and Plymouth.
A service in Glasgow's George Square was marred by a disturbance on a nearby street.
Strathclyde Police said the incident involved dozens of people and a number of arrests had been made.
During the week, more than 3,000 Armed Forces Day flags were flown by councils, businesses, schools and homes across the UK.
It used to be called Veterans Day but was changed by the government to raise awareness and appreciation of all those serving in Britain's military.
Speaking during his first visit to Afghanistan since taking over as defence secretary, Bob Ainsworth said the new day honouring service personnel would be a "huge fillip" to troops.
The lack of recognition extended to the armed forces in recent years was "not acceptable", he said.
He referred to young soldiers he once spoke to, who had recently returned from theatre shortly after he became a defence minister in 2007.
"They were telling me at that time that they didn't tend to talk about what they had been up to because people weren't interested," he said.
"I just thought that that was so depressing. Now you can see lots of organisations - small businesses, large businesses, communities - trying to show their appreciation.
"And it is just phenomenally important. It's a huge improvement on the situation that was existing a couple of years ago."