The National Memorial Arboretum Part Two

We return in this second post about the National Memorial Arboretum where we left off.

2013 11 30_5345_edited-1

This was a quiet place, full of bird song and the quiet voices of the visitors deeply affected by the sense of the place.

2013 11 30_5380

Seats to sit upon

to sit and think

to sit and to remember

lost ones.

Share now a few images of the place to show its variety, its beauty and its sadness.

2013 11 30_5372  2013 11 30_5386 2013 11 30_5387 2013 11 30_5385

 2013 11 30_5434 2013 11 30_5433

2013 11 30_5435

We walked slowly up a gentle sloping path giving us a spiral route to the “Armed Services Memorial” with a solemn “wall of names”. The sculptural pieces here were astonishing, powerful and thought provoking.

2013 11 30_5376 2013 11 30_5356

 2013 11 30_5358 2013 11 30_5359 2013 11 30_5360 2013 11 30_5361 2013 11 30_5362

Below, the sculpted hand indicates the place where a shaft of sunlight pierces two slits in two walls. They line up on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month each year the time when the First World War ended. It is the time the nation remembers each year the members of the armed forces lost serving their country.

2013 11 30_5363 2013 11 30_5364

2013 11 30_5370 2013 11 30_5371

A massive curving wall has carved into it the names of all armed service personel who have died in service since the end of the Second Wall War. To see all these names together illustrates the futility of war so clearly. Worst of all was the huge area left blank as space for those yet to die. The United Nations should hold their meetings here and every Member of Parliament from every nation should spend some time here at the beginning of every session of their parliament. I wonder if it would make any difference?

2013 11 30_5365

2013 11 30_5367 2013 11 30_5368 2013 11 30_5369

We found smaller memorials which were more specific and sometimes outside the realms of armed conflicts.

 2013 11 30_5377  2013 11 30_53792013 11 30_5378

The essential work of the Bevin Boys, the miners who kept the mines open during WW2 was celebrated in these wonderful relief carvings. Powerful just like the Bevin boys themselves.

2013 11 30_5381 2013 11 30_5382 2013 11 30_5383 2013 11 30_5384

Men who lost their lives building the railways in the Far East as prisoners of war were commemorated by a garden of many varieties of Sorbus growing around reconstructed sections of railway lines.

2013 11 30_5392 2013 11 30_5395 2013 11 30_5397 2013 11 30_5398 2013 11 30_5399 2013 11 30_5400 2013 11 30_5401 2013 11 30_5402 2013 11 30_5403 2013 11 30_5404 2013 11 30_5405

A few of the gardens help us remember the loss of lives of those serving the nation but not in the armed services. Here we celebrate the bravery of the men of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. A sturdy figure carved from stone reflects the strength of character of these people as he looks over a seaside landscape.

2013 11 30_5422

2013 11 30_5432 2013 11 30_5431

One of the most incredible memorials was a tribute to the men of the railways.

2013 11 30_5430 2013 11 30_5429 2013 11 30_5428 2013 11 30_5427 2013 11 30_5426 2013 11 30_5425 2013 11 30_5424 2013 11 30_5423

We even found a memorial to the soldiers from our home county of Shropshire.

2013 11 30_5413

The Jewish Memorial was a truly beautiful piece of art as well as a moving memorial piece.

2013 11 30_5414 2013 11 30_5415 2013 11 30_5416

As the light faded over the memorial arboretum the trees tops began to fill with the sounds of starlings settling down to roost. To the birds this garden is a home giving them shelter, food and a place to nest.

2013 11 30_5417

I will leave you with a few deeply moving pictures.

2013 11 30_5409 2013 11 30_5364_edited-1

2013 11 30_5410 2013 11 30_5411

2013 11 30_5421 2013 11 30_5418

2013 11 30_5437 2013 11 30_5436

And finally a picture of the Bazra Wall to illustrate that we never learn. With all the waste of lives over the centuries it still goes on.

2013 11 30_5375

About greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.
This entry was posted in arboreta, autumn, memorials, poppies, remembrance, trees, woodland and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.