Monday, May 05, 2008

To Runnymede...

...for the day. Something we'd often discussed was a visit to the Royal Air Force Memorial overlooking the river at Runnymede. I was taken there as a child, because an uncle's name is among the 20,000 commemorated - he was a young Flying Officer and was shot down over the North Sea in 1943...

In recent years, many times, driving past that way, we've said that some time we must make a visit. Today was that day.

It is a noble, airy, formal and worthy memorial, with the glorious words from the Psalm "If I ascend to the Heavens, thou art there..." cut into the glass that lifts your eyes up to the wide sky above the Thames, and a collonade surrounding a green lawn, with panel after panel of white stone bearing the names of those who died. I searched for Uncle John's name and there it was...Campbell J.M. There's a book kept near the entrance which lists family and other details.

When Mother speaks of him his memory is as fresh and clear to her as it was when she told us about him when we were children and explained about Remembrance Day. She still has some of the plays he wrote and amateur films he made. He was her oldest brother and his photograph has always been there on the shelf in her room.

Later, we went down to the river and looked at Magna Carta Island. There were families picknicking on the riverbank, a cheerful and friendly scene. Extraordinarily, at the Memorial, we'd run into people we knew - who said they read this Blog so if they are seeing this, I greet them again! - and somehow the whole of today had a special feeling. We went into the tea-rooms, and Jamie found they were selling good quality copies of the great document and thought it would be nice to have one...which gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, and I duly asked for "A pot of tea for two and a copy of Magna Carta please".

1 comment:

joannaB73 said...

That was a lovely piece to read and quite poignant.