The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas was once again the venue for the fifteenth National Service Day commemoration. A large audience with many invited guests and civic dignitaries, witnessed this spectacular event, which was again organised solely by Gerald Rose, who is the Founder & National Chairman of the National Service Foundation. W Bro Gerald is also a Past Master of Sutton Pilgrims Lodge, where he has been a member for over 50 years.
The introduction in the order of service, restates the aims of the Foundation, to remember all those from the three services who died in battle, and to educate future generations of the sacrifices made for the freedoms of today.
The service was led by Commander David Childs RN, CBE, Founder of the National Memorial Arboretum and President of the National Service Foundation. Parades of representatives of the forces with standards, including the Masonic standards of the Provinces of Warwickshire, Derbyshire & Staffordshire were very impressive.
W Bro Ron Eamonson, PAGDC, a continuing trustee of the National Service Foundation, laid a wreath on behalf of all Freemasons who had made the supreme sacrifice, and also read a most moving poem entitled “To Those Who Served” written by T W Ward, a poet from Scarborough who has composed many moving pieces. Following the Last Post, Observation of Silence, Reveille, and laying of the wreaths, Air Chief Marshall Sir Peter Squire, GCB, DFC, AFC, DL, FRAES, RN, gave a personal address. This included his pleasure in being present at such a moving service, and reference to the continuous work at the National Memorial Centre.
The Province of Warwickshire was represented by W Bro Christopher Rogers, Asst Provincial Grand Master, and W Bro John Hayward, Provincial Charity Steward with their wives, together with W Bro Mark Homes and W Bro Alan Harwood, both Provincial Grand Standard Bearers appointed in May this year. Representatives of Staffordshire & Derbyshire were also present for the service. A donation by the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association had been made earlier in the year in support of the National Service Veterans Foundation, as has been the case for several years.
Provincial Standard Bearers on Parade. W Bro Alan Harwood and W Bro Mark Holmes are the last in the line-up
The new Masonic Memorial, which was dedicated earlier this year, is situated just to the left of the area where the service took place, and with the pillars on either side, catches the eye of every visitor entering the centre.
Despite the threat of rain throughout the service, a splendid and impressive day was enjoyed by all present.