Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal leads Armistice Day commemorations

Shot at Dawn

Visitors are advised that the Shot at Dawn Memorial will close to the public on Monday 6 May. The memorial will undergo restoration and will be closed for approximately six weeks whilst these works take place. Free Shot at Dawn Talks will continue to take place daily at 12.30pm and 1.30pm in the Millennium Chapel, please ask at the Welcome Desk for more information. Visit our Shot at Dawn Restoration Appeal to find out more and donate.

Find out more

Earlier today, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal attended the Service of Remembrance on the iconic Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum. 

 

The service on the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, the treaty which brought an end to the First World War, was held in memory of all those who gave their lives in service to their country since 1914.   

 

“This weekend we are gathering across the country to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the Nation, defending our freedoms and protecting our way of life,” said Philippa Rawlinson, Director of Remembrance for the Royal British Legion and Director of the National Memorial Arboretum. “By bringing together people of all ages, from diverse communities, we are passing the baton of Remembrance to future generations, ensuring that the sacrifices made by all who serve will never be forgotten.  


“The National Memorial Arboretum, the Nation’s year-round place to remember, plays a critical role in preserving the legacy of the fallen. There are countless stories of service and sacrifice encapsulated within more than 400 memorials, transforming our 150-acre estate into an inspirational space to celebrate lives lived and commemorate lives lost in service, freely open to all.” 

 

The service was led by The Right Reverend Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby, and included an Act of Remembrance, incorporating a two-minute silence at 11am. At the conclusion of the Act of Remembrance, HRH The Princess Royal laid a wreath on the central plinth of the Armed Forces Memorial. The wreath sat adjacent to the giant bronze wreath which captures a shaft of sunlight at 11am on 11 November each year, thanks to a carefully designed gap in the imposing Portland stone walls of the memorial. 

 

 

The service also included performances from the British Army Band Catterick and a recital by Dan Simpson, the Arboretum’s poet-in-residence, who read his new poem ‘Enduring Freedom’. 

Watch the Armistice Day Service

YouTube

Enduring Freedom

By Dan Simpson

 

What can we give to those who gave themselves?

their poignant loss so great and abiding

gone now into unknown, eternal realms

not here to savour peace after fighting.

 

We give our words, our prayers, our thanks, our tears

we give them the honour that they are due

we remember them here throughout the years:

but what does their example stir in you?

 

With their memories in our hearts, we go on

we breathe, feel joy, we speak, have choice: we live

as they fought against what they knew was wrong

we consider this: what more can we give?

 

For those who paid for our peace with their lives

we can give ourselves to the greater good

to use our time in noble sacrifice

to stand for a better world – as they stood.

 

Knowing that many people still struggle

in a world that can be cruel and unjust

can we find the courage to face trouble

to understand the lesson they taught us?

 

They fought for us, for enduring freedom

for a fairer earth we all want to see

though they are gone, there’s still work to be done

the work for every human to be free.