Located in the heart of the country within the National Forest near Lichfield, the National Memorial Arboretum comprises 150 acres of trees and memorials devoted to the concept of Remembrance. It is the United Kingdom's living and lasting memorial to commemorate and celebrate those who have given their lives in the service of their country, those who have suffered as a result of conflict and others who for appropriate reasons are commemorated on the site.
The idea for the arboretum was conceived by David Childs in 1988. He believed that it would form a living tribute to service men and women for future generations to reflect upon and enjoy. The Arboretum was established around the turn of the Millennium, with an official opening on 16 May 2001.
The Arboretum is situated just south of the village of Alrewas on approximately 150 acres (0.61 km2; 0.23 sq mi) of old gravel workings, 5 miles north of Lichfield, Staffordshire. It is adjacent to the confluence of the River Tame with the River Trent, and directly neighbouring Croxall Lakes. The grounds of the Arboretum contains over 50,000 trees, with more added year upon year. The grounds though busy afford a peaceful haven, a place of thought, contemplation and hope where visitors can both enjoy and learn about the trees and their surroundings, and reflect upon their special symbolism.
Amongst the groves, woods and gardens are over 150 memorials and plots for the armed forces, civilian organisations and voluntary bodies who have played a part in serving the country. At the heart of the Arboretum is the impressive Armed Forces Memorial, which is a tribute to almost 16,000 service personnel who have lost their lives in conflict or as a result of terrorism since the end of the Second World War. The Memorial was dedicated in October 2007 by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the presence of the Queen. At 11am on 11th November each year the sun shines through two slits in the outer and inner walls of the memorial, casting a shaft of light across a wreath in the centre.
Also present within the Arboretum is the Millennium Chapel of Peace and Forgiveness where, at 11am each day, an act of remembrance takes place. The National Memorial Arboretum is a registered charity and is managed by The Royal British Legion.
The National Memorial Arboretum - http://www.thenma.org.uk/
The National Memorial Arboretum on Twitter - http://twitter.com/Nat_Mem_Arb
Friends of The National Arboretum - http://www.friendsofnma.org.uk/index1a.htm
The Royal British Legion - http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/