The service was led by The Venerable Dr Susan Weller, Archdeacon of Lichfield, and Reverend Vic Van Den Bergh, Honorary Chaplain to the National Memorial Arboretum orchestrated the Act of Remembrance, incorporating a two-minute silence at 11am. The service also included performances from Black Voices, the Reggae Choir, and the British Army Band Catterick, alongside a recital by Dan Simpson, the Arboretum’s poet-in-residence, who read his new poem ‘Seasons of Remembrance’.
Engraved with the names of over 16,000 service personnel, the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum honours all those who have been killed whilst on duty, died in operational theatre or been targeted by terrorists since the end of the Second World War. The Memorial gives recognition and thanks for those who have given their lives in service but is also particularly important for the many families and friends who have no grave to visit, or who remember those in graves in far-off places.
“Throughout the year the National Memorial Arboretum stands as a magnificent tribute to everyone who serves our Nation, preserving the legacy of the fallen and ensuring that their sacrifices will never be forgotten. People of all ages gathered here today in their thousands, standing together to remember those who have courageously served their country and sacrificed for the freedoms that we enjoy today.”
- Mark Ellis, National Memorial Arboretum Lead
By Dan Simpson
As Autumn turns the trees from verdant growth
through a sunset spectrum of oranges and reds
brown leaves fall in loose formation to the ground
passing from this life and into the land
from the radiant light to the soil of the dead.
Sometimes Summer goes too quickly
and we mourn the passing of its yellow warmth
knowing Winter’s darkness will soon descend
as it always does, as is natural, as it ought.
We believe that the deepest blues must end
Spring will come and green shoots rise
nourished by the leaves that, in Autumn, fell
every part of existence blossoms and blooms
a cycle of sacrifice that gives new life.
We honour those who in the past
gave themselves for our earth
ensued that generations could breathe freely
and through their deaths allowed rebirth.