On Remembrance Sunday (13th November 2016), the National Memorial Arboretum held a public service of Remembrance at the base of the Armed Forces Memorial attended by over four thousand people, who gathered to pay their respects. The service was led by The Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby and was accompanied by music from the West Midlands Police Brass Band and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Warwickshire Band.
A succession of wreaths were laid on the memorial by representatives of military and community organisations, including local branches of The Royal British Legion, the Army, Sea and Air Cadet Forces, Scout troops, and Guide units. At noon units paraded and marched past the memorial, before a concert performed in Heroes’ Square by the West Midlands Police Brass Band and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Warwickshire Band.
The Armed Forces Memorial, a tribute to the servicemen and women who have died on duty, or as a result of terrorism, since 1948, has recently undergone significant improvement work. The memorial is designed so that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when a two-minute Silence is called in Remembrance of the cessation of First World War hostilities, a shaft of sunlight dissects its inner and outer walls, hitting the central bronze wreath sculpture.
Sarah Montgomery, Managing Director of the National Memorial Arboretum said “Remembrance Sunday is when we commemorate all who lost their lives in conflict and honour their sacrifice in protection of our country and our way of life. This annual tradition means that values of Remembrance are passed from generation to generation, securing the legacy of those who paid the ultimate price, and ensuring they will live on forever in our thoughts.
“The National Memorial Arboretum is the perfect place for people to gather to pay their respects and we were delighted so many people joined us for our first Remembrance Sunday since opening our new Remembrance Centre last month”.
The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire is the UK’s year-round Centre for Remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country.
The Arboretum is part of The Royal British Legion and has 30,000 maturing trees and 330 memorials. In October 2016, it opened a £15.7m Remembrance Centre, following a major fundraising campaign supported by numerous individuals and organisations, including Staffordshire County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Situated on land gifted by Tarmac, the Arboretum is also home to the striking Armed Forces Memorial which commemorates those who have been killed on duty or as a result of terrorism from the end of the Second World War to the present time.