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National Memorial Arboretum

(17 Posts)
grannyactivist Thu 21-Jul-11 00:11:52

Today I was at the National Memorial Arboretum to attend a service of commemoration for men and women of the UK armed forces who were killed on duty during 2010 (including my son in law). I wonder if others have visited this amazing place? I confess I hadn't heard of it until last year, but it is quite spectacular and the sculptures capture the impact of military deaths most movingly. My husband and son had visited previously and both said they had been moved to tears. (Not normally given to displays of emotion; either of them.)

pompa Thu 21-Jul-11 09:14:12

I had not heard of this before- will try to visit when we are on our travels.

artygran Thu 21-Jul-11 19:45:30

DH and I have not been there yet but intend to go. We went to Ypre when we lived in Belgium and it was one of the most moving experiences I have ever had. The NMA is different though. The loss of our young men and women in this terrible conflict is almost more than those of us who have a service background can bear. It is a wonderful, fitting memorial to them. DH spent two years in Northern Ireland in 1972, had close calls and we lost good friends to the troubles - the worst of times - and he served in the Falklands campaign. We were lucky. No matter how long you are retired, you always have a kinship with your service and with those who serve. My heart goes out to your family and particularly your daughter. I also know what it is like to have an adult child who is grieving. My son and his wife were both serving in the RAF when she died. We were grateful for the unfailing support and compassion his service colleagues gave him and us, and I hope that your daughter is receiving the same support. I will be ashamed if she is not.

grannyactivist Thu 21-Jul-11 21:24:45

artygran thanks for your comment. Yes, my daughter has received support - especially from her Visiting Officer who has been a treasure - but it's rather intermittent and sometimes what is on offer is not actually what she needs. Ho hum, what cannot be changed must be borne and she is doing a fine job.
When you do go to the NMA I suggest you take a packet of tissues, the main sculptures are really heart-wrenching.

absentgrana Fri 22-Jul-11 16:43:29

I haven't been to the arboretum yet, but hope to visit some time. In spite of being a committed pacifist since about the age of 17 – or, perhaps, more accurately, because of that – I find such places deeply moving. When I visited the QEII Army Memorial Museum in Waiouro in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand, I was moved to tears by the wall of remembrance. A room is lined with greenstone – New Zealand jade – and a gentle stream of water runs down it to symbolize mourning and cleansing while a voice recites the entries in the book of remembrance as the pages turn. How right that strangers should still shed tears for long-lost boys who died in foreign lands and I hope that the knowledge of others' – some not yet born – sympathy is a source of strength to you, your daughter and other family members.

grannyactivist Fri 22-Jul-11 22:52:08

absentgrana Husband and I are also long-term pacifists and are very grateful for those, like yourself, who are able to nevertheless show sympathy for the plight of those who lose their lives during times of conflict.

helshea Sat 23-Jul-11 07:32:16

Have decided while lay in bed that I am going to go to the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester today... am I sad or what? I really enjoy it though, even when I go on my own (unfortunately grandchild too young yet).

JessM Thu 04-Aug-11 22:15:23

A very moving Gallipoli memorial can be found on a headland in Wellington NZ.

Here is an old blogpost I did while i was there, with a photo of the words

A fantastic message of reconciliation which is so rarely seen.
I was struck for instance in Normandy that we saw no mentions of German dead.

jackyann Thu 04-Aug-11 22:26:23

There are German war cemeteries in Normandy, and in some ways they are more poignant. Grandmothers need no explanation why.

grannyactivist Fri 05-Aug-11 00:21:37

JessM Such a moving inscription. More tears!

JessM Fri 05-Aug-11 07:40:39

Yes indeed GA. What a pity that the Muslim world cannot produce more leaders like Attaturk. But maybe they will yet emerge our of the current anguish. One can but hope.

I am glad you are finding Gransnet a bit of solace at such a sad time.

Baggy Fri 05-Aug-11 07:52:12

I liked the inscription too, jess. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

bunic Fri 05-Aug-11 08:45:41

Bunica & I were taken National Memorial Arboretum in 2009 during a break from a mission we were on Walk National Forest by some dear friends we stayed with. It was very moving ,to see all those names of people who laid down rightly or wrongly thier lives.GO,SEE,REFLECT.

janreb Fri 12-Aug-11 17:59:04

I have several friends who have visited the National Memorial Arboretum and all say what a wonderful place it is.
Grannyactivist - I work for a service charity so if your daughter ever needs anything let me know and I will put you in touch with someone - there is help out there. Sadly they can't bring him back.

grannyactivist Fri 12-Aug-11 19:44:43

Thanks janreb, but happily she is very well supported. In particular I must wave the flag for the Royal British Legion who have been AMAZING.

janreb Sat 13-Aug-11 14:29:59

Glad to hear it grannyactivist - tell her to never be afraid to ask, it is no more than she is entitled to. I wish we could get through to more people who don't realise they are entitled to help no matter how long ago they left the service.

GillieB Sun 14-Aug-11 19:58:06

I haven't been to the Arboretum, unfortunately. Reading the posts, however, reminded me when my husband and I went to Normandy and Picardy a few years ago. We hadn't any intention of visiting the war graves and memorials, but we were drawn to them. The very best, in my opinion, was Beaumont Hammell where you can actually walk in the remains of the trenches. Lots of Canadian soldiers lost their lives there and young people from Canada now come over (or did, this was a few years ago) to guide vistors round the area and explain what happened. It was an incredibly moving experience.