12 members of Gloucester Link Group supported by members of the Area Meeting travelled to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire where we were met by the Trustees of the Quaker Service Memorial.
Many of the Memorials in the Arboretum are Military Memorials, memorials to those killed in the wars of the last century.
We had learned from Journeys in the Spirit that the Memorials built after the First World War were originally called 'Peace Memorials'. The Quaker Memorial in the Arboretum was not allowed to be called a Peace Memorial though the Quaker service of the Friends Ambulance Unit and the Friends Relief Service were undoubtably about building peace and reconciliation.
Our purpose was to plant one and a half thousand snowdrops among the trees surrounding the Quaker Service Memorial. It will take some time for them to grow and spread into a white and 'peaceful' carpet.
We also visited the 'Shot at Dawn' Memorial commemorating the many, mostly very young, men sentenced to death for desertion, cowardice or disobeying orders. We read the closing pages of 'Private Peaceful'. It was very moving. They have had to build a new path to this place because so many people wish to visit it.
Please click here to see a collection of images taken by Noel Baker of the day.