This uber reverence for the armed forces is one of the most interesting modern phenomena to have been covered on here for a while.
As I've said before, the Wootton Bassett thing also undermines support in wars. Can you imagine the First World War lasting very long if all those bodies from the Somme had been flown in to wherever and been broadcast live to the public? It also clouds the issues when you try and post cool, statistical analysis of the number killed, with the shrill "TRY TELLING THAT TO THE PEOPLE AT WOOTTON BASSETT YOU UNCARING BASTARD" cries meeting it every time you do it.
I recall (obviously from what I've heard from documentaries. I'm not 120 years old or anything!) that the authorities at the time (WW1) were keen to downplay events of mass hysteria (that apparently did happen) lest it caused homefront morale to collapse. I have a HARD time imagining that this would have been different for part 2 of the World war saga as well. Though for the first one, I'm sure the censorship helped; and did - cover up the true extent of the casualties as well.
The "try telling that" is always the first sign that emotionalism has started to lead public opinion, and from that bad things can happen. Your death threat, for just having an opinion!!
There is something very nasty not far underneath the surface of a lot of the armed forces reverence. We've had wars before, but never have the army in particular been regarded in such a way. I don't recall Falkands veterans marching around football grounds or freedoms of cities being giving after tours of duty in Ulster. The whole Wooton Basset scenario started out as a low-key act of remembrance; now it's as good as on the tourist circuit. And while I've no doubt there are many decent and sincere people raising funds for service personnel, the whole thing seems bound up in some sort of xenophobic, macho baggage. I don't know, but maybe the twisted "can't be English in your own country anymore" mentality sees HfH as a way of being able to fly 'their' flag in defiance of the PC brigade.
Yeah a lot of xenophobes and bigoted idiots love riding the tailcoats of other peoples "glories". Gives them an excuse to indulge thier nationalism, with the added advantage of not requiring them to actually do any work, or undertake any effort to justify that feeling.
I remember a BNP leaflet that got posted through my door last year. It had the words "Agincourt" "D-Day" "The Somme" "Falklands" "Fought for in our blood! Fought in English Pride!" or something. No!! Other peoples blood, not yours!!
I'll just point out that I don't think most people who support HfH are like this. It is just a possible reason why unsavoury BNP types are drawn to this kind of thing.