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Thousands of crosses in honour of Armed Forces who died
A moving and poignant Field of Remembrance has been opened in Staffordshire to commemorate thousands of service men and women who lost their lives while on duty. The 2019 Royal British Legion Field of Remembrance was officially unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, near Lichfield, on November 4. It is one of six such tributes installed across the country. Poppies with personal messages are planted in the Fields of Remembrance, dedicated to the courage of service men and women who have lost their lives while serving in the Armed Forces. They contain tributes on a Remembrance Cross, Muslim Crescent, Star of David, Sikh Khanda, Hindu Om or Secular Tribute installed in memory of those who have died in conflict.
The Field of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum
The Field of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum, which is an important part of the Royal British Legion's work, will remain open for the public to visit until Sunday 24 November. Around 10,000 individual tributes were made by members of the public and returned to the Arboretum for them to be planted together alongside one of the main roads passing through the 150 acre site. The official opening of the Field of Remembrance was marked by a service which included D-Day veteran Norman Williams reading 'In Flanders Field' by John McCrae. The service was attended by around a dozen D-Day veterans, as well as other members of the Armed Forces, past and present. The service concluded with a two minute silence at 11am.
Service men and women who lost their lives in 2009 and 2010
The various tributes have been laid out in numbered blocks for visitors to find individual crosses or other symbols. Inscriptions include individual names or messages that simply read 'We owe so much' or 'To all the fallen'. There is also a separate section dedicated to D Day veterans who also never came home. However, more recent service men and women who lost their lives while on duty are grouped together in blocks marked by a sign that reads Recently Fallen and the date, such as 2009 and 2010, when they died. More poignantly, these tributes bear a photo of the person being remembered, alongside their name and age, some as young as 18.
The Royal British Legion's work is encapsulated in its motto: Live On – to the memory of the fallen and the future of the living. The Legion is the nation's biggest Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is the national custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is well known for the annual Poppy Appeal, and its emblem the red poppy. The Royal British Legion has been organising the Fields of Remembrance since 1928. For more information, please visit rbl.org.uk/dedicate