Every year on November 11th Britain unites to honour the memory of our fallen soldiers in remembrance services and events around the country. The British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal is a powerful way in which we show our respect and help not only to remember the fallen but also to support those who are left behind.
This year, as we marked the centenary of the Great War, commemorations have been particularly poignant. There is possibly nothing that does more to honour the memory of those we lost than the heart-stopping installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London. The stunning memorial, entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red comprises of 888,246 flowers, each representing a British military death in World War One.
In an equally poignant manner, volunteers have already started to remove the poppies from the Tower. The artist behind the Tower installation, Paul Cummins, said he never intended the installation to be permanent as it was meant to symbolise that human beings were “transient”. Whilst the display will soon be gone, the memory of the fallen will live on for much longer.
Remembrance Day is, most will agree, a time for us to put our differences aside and join together as a nation to celebrate the memory or our heroes. And whilst it is only right that we should do so, it is also a time at which it is natural to reflect on all who have departed and how they can be remembered. It is important to remember that every passing of an individual marks the passing of a hero to somebody, leaving us with the question, ‘What can we do to remember our loved ones?’
Whilst, as artist Paul Cummins states, human life is ultimately transient, a tangible and permanent memorial to a loved one is often an essential element of the ‘acceptance’ stage of the grieving process. It is in our nature as humans to seek something we can reach out and touch as a way of connecting with those we can no longer physically reach.
Traditionally, this need has been addressed in the form of a lovingly commissioned headstone with carefully chosen words of affection. However, with the rising popularity of alternative forms of burial along with increasing pressure on existing cemeteries, now is a good time to consider how else memories can be preserved.
For the better known, statues have long been a popular form of memorial. The sheer costs of such a tribute, however, make this an impractical approach in most cases.
Carefully placed decorative urns are another way in which we can create a sanctuary and are much better suited to the indoor environment, however not all find the association comfortable.
One beautiful alternative for remembering our loved ones is a memorial bench such as those offered by Bench Memorials. Personal, sensitive and long lasting, a memorial bench can be installed in a location of your choosing to create a dedicated place to pause and reflect on loved ones. Made from responsibly sourced, sustainable materials and available in a range of designs, they can also be engraved with words of your choice to form a truly unique memorial that keeps the spirit of your nearest truly alive.
Click here to view the full range of memorial benches available from Bench Memorials.