Saturday, 12 November 2011

The National Memorial Arboretum

We took the Podlings to the National Memorial Arboretum today in keeping with the Armistice Day commemorations. It was actually Tom's suggestion and we thought it a very good one. He recently went on a class trip to the arboretum in connection with their project on the Second World War and he really enjoyed his visit. He came up to us after breakfast this morning and said "I'd really like to show you all round the arboretum tomorrow". We thought it might be rather busy tomorrow, what with it being Remembrance Sunday, so we went this afternoon instead.

We met up with Mark's parents and his aunt and uncle who are staying with them at the moment. We haven't seen Auntie Mary and Uncle Keith since January so it was lovely to see them again. The Podlings really enjoyed their visit and we tried to explain what it was all about without being too maudlin. We knew the arboretum was big, but we rather underestimated quite how big and I think we would like to go again so we could see more. It closes at dusk and we didn't get there until three, so we could have done with more time. I would particularly like to take my parents next time they visit as my dad served in the army and I really think he would get something out of a trip there.

 This Victorian postbox is part of the memorial to members of the General Post Office. It is surrounded by painted stones, some containing the names of those who have died in service. Tom hunted around until he found the stone that he painted on his school visit here as he wanted to show it to us.

 Another of the over 200 memorials at the arboretum.

 The Armed Forces Memorial contains the names of every British service man and woman who has died in active service or through terrorist action since the Second World War. There are a staggering number of names listed.

 Inside the Armed Forces Memorial, in front of one of the two large bronze sculptures in the centre.

Tom next to the bronze wreath in the centre of the Armed Forces Memorial. The second of the large bronze sculptures can be seen in the background.

 At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, a shaft of sunlight shines through the gap in this stone 'door' and illuminates the bronze wreath at the centre of the memorial.


"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."

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