National Memorial Arboretum – Lichfield, UK

This last week I have been on a bit of a road trip, pictures from which will appear on my photo blog, My Daily Snap, in due course. On Tuesday, 12 November, I visited the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA). It was a very moving experience. A few of my photographs, thoughts and words follow.

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It was my son’s birthday, the day after Remembrance Day, and only a couple of days after Remembrance Sunday. It was a day of mixed emotions; thoughts about my son, about Remembrance, and the sacrifice of the thousands of servicemen and women, young and old. Thoughts about loss, those left behind to carry the burden. Thoughts about current struggles, wars, those serving today. About the disaster in The Philippines and friends and people I know there from my time spent living in South East Asia. Thoughts about how I could capture that emotion in photographs and words. And whether it was even right to attempt to do so. I decided to take the photographs and mark my visit with my own tribute.

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I found the National Memorial Arboretum quite an atmospheric place to be, emotionally charged and yet very peaceful. Some of the memorials are stunning pieces of sculpture, some simple memorials and statements.

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It is a work in progress I feel. Being very new, it will benefit from time; time for the tress planted to grow, for the landscape to mature. Time for it to age, unlike so many of those commemorated who stay in our memories as we last knew them. ‘Age shall not weary them…’ words from the ‘Ode of Remembrance’, that phrase is so true.

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The NMA is a special place and long overdue that the UK should have a fitting National Memorial. Everyone should make a pilgrimage to the National Memorial Arboretum at least once. I wrote some words on 11 November at 11am…

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Two Minutes

For two minutes
The world falls silent
Or at least it should
For two minutes
If it was your loved ones
I know you would

Two minutes
To mark lives lost
Two minutes
To remember the cost
Two minutes
For those with so much to live for
Two minutes
I would ask for so much more
Two minutes
Is not enough of a measure
Two minutes
Is not enough memory to treasure
Two minutes
Is not that long
Two minutes
Is not even the perfect pop song
Two minutes
To put your phones away
Two minutes
To have nothing to say
Two minutes
To pause your games of violence
Two minutes
Silence

For two minutes
The world falls silent
Or at least it should
For two minutes
If it was your loved ones
I know you would

© Nick Ritchie
(previously published on My Poetry Blog)…

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I hope my photographs and words do justice and that you are inspired to make a visit to this special place.

Photographs © Nick Ritchie Photography 2013

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About themanofletters

Love poetry, love Marmite, Alright?
This entry was posted in Memorials, MyDailyBlog, Photos, Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to National Memorial Arboretum – Lichfield, UK

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