I love being a Grandpa, but it reminds me with very great sadness, that I never had the opportunity to know either of my Grandads. One died in a car crash when I was a month old, and the other was shot by some no doubt terrified German soldier on the Somme in 1916. His remains lie in a cemetary in France. Some people take war memorials to be associated with "glorious" dead. I just find them very sad and very moving. And none more so that where we visited today.
Herbie now sits in the little village of Alrewas on the Trent and Mersey canal.
Following several recommendations, a five minute bus ride from Alrewas today took us to the National Memorial Arboretum where those who have died in national service since 1945 are remembered. Not just military men and women, but firefighters, lifeboat men, victims of chemical experiments at Porton Down and of nuclear bomb tests and all sorts of others.
Non combatants from the second world war are aslo remembered. There is an oak wood there with over 2,000 trees. Each tree represents a Merchant Navy ship sunk by enemy action. The crews lost from these ships were not fighters. The lists describe them as greasers, or navigators etc.
The arboretum is a large site divided into lots of individual remembrance gardens. However your eyes are inevitably drawn to the mound where stands the Armed Forces Memorial, only four years old.
I had never heard of this place before. You might have your own views on such things, but I would be keen to take the grandchildren here. They should know the price of military adventure.