National Memorial Arboretum part 2

The Arboretum is spread over a 150 acre site with paths radiating out to various themed areas. There are volunteer guides, and motor trains to help you through the various memorials, but we chose to wander freely, spending the first part of our day around the Army and it’s ancillary corp.  After coffee we moved onto the Navy’s service and sacrifice.

This figure is honouring fallen comrades looking towards the setting sun.

“At the going down of the sun, we will remember them.”

The Merchant Navy also lost many, in their quest to keep our island nation thriving. But in contrast to the colours of the Royal Navy, this living sculpture was a dark, densely packed forest, each tree representing a ship lost.Many of the trees had dedication plaques sponsored in memory of individuals. We debated whether or not the NMA was the appropriate place for this sort of personal memorial but we didn’t reach a satisfactory conclusion.

Both Eric’s dad and mine did their national service in the RAF, though not as flyers.  My dad built runways in Aden and Eric’s dad was an electrician. I loved this memorial of these 5 men setting off on their mission.

Of course not all our service men and women made it home initially and this very simple stone played tribute to “The Home Run” and this garden was dedicated to special services, the undercover missions and intelligence agencies, small groups of dedicated people who knew their missions were so dangerous that they weren’t guaranteed to make it out being captured or killed. 

This simple structure paid tribute to those who were held as prisoners of war. The gates are open now and there is no barbed wire or guns to hold us captive

And while it seems we still live in a world of conflict there is peace and reconciliation as well.