NMA Pilgrimage by Eric MacKinder

Article by Eric MacKinder about his pilgrimage to the National Memorial Arboretum on July 18th 2014

A day of pride and emotion …

On July 18th of this year I made a pilgrimage to the National Memorial Arboretum to lay a wreath at the Monte Cassino Memorial to honour the brave and courageous men who fought at this most bloody battle of WWII. My wish was to honour all the fallen and those who by the grace of God survived and fought on, in particular, my father, Corporal Stanley MacKinder and his comrades of the 2nd Battalion the Kings Liverpool Regiment.

It was the most perfect of days, bright sunshine with a clear blue sky. Accompanied by my friend and his mother, as my sighted guides and audio describers, due to my blindness, I was able to lay my wreath in memory of the Kings Liverpool Regiment at the memorial and tour all the relevant memorials to the Italian campaign.

As I lay my wreath and stood at the memorial in sombre reflection, I was overcome with a strong wave of intense pride of my late father, his Regiment, and for all who fought, especially the fallen. In addition to the pride I found myself overcome with a deep sense of emotion and loss.

Unless involved in war and in such a battle, I truly believe that we the descendants of this brave generation, will never comprehend the horror they endured so that we would be able to live in the freedom we have today.

I strongly feel that we must fight to ensure that the Italian Campaign does not remain the forgotten campaign and that these bravest of warriors get the honour and recognition they most truly deserve.

Lest We Forget.

Eric MacKinder, Associate Member

Italy Star Association 1943-1945