Thought for the week

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I RECENTLY spent a day at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire.

It was opened in 2001 to honour those who have died in conflict and in service of our country.

Dotted round the site are memorials large and small – some to those killed in a single raid, others to a campaign or to a conflict far away.

One of the newest memorials is to those who took part in the liberation of the Falklands.

We went first to the memorials to Far East Prisoners of War and were reminded about the horrific suffering of those captured by the Japanese in World War Two.

The shell-shocked young men who were executed for cowardice in the First World War (and only pardoned in 2006) are remembered by 346 wooden stakes.

The Polish armed forces are also commemorated, as the fourth largest allied force which fought against the Nazis.

The largest memorial, at the centre of the site, records the names of the 16,000 British service personnel killed since 1945.

There is space for another 15,000 names. I prayed, as I stood before the blank wall, that we might all work more determinedly for peace, so that it is never filled up.

JOHN BENNETT

Vicar of St Mary and St Nicolas, Spalding