We return in this second post about the National Memorial Arboretum where we left off.
This was a quiet place, full of bird song and the quiet voices of the visitors deeply affected by the sense of the place.
Seats to sit upon
to sit and think
to sit and to remember
Share now a few images of the place to show its variety, its beauty and its sadness.
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.
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.
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?
We found smaller memorials which were more specific and sometimes outside the realms of armed conflicts.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most incredible memorials was a tribute to the men of the railways.
We even found a memorial to the soldiers from our home county of Shropshire.
The Jewish Memorial was a truly beautiful piece of art as well as a moving memorial piece.
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.
I will leave you with a few deeply moving pictures.
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.