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Runnymede

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Runnymede is an attractive riverside meadow and adjoining woodland, albeit somewhat disturbed by a rather busy road. Because of its historical connections, Runnymede is the site of several memorials. These are all located amongst the trees of Coopers Hill, which backs the water-meadow:

* Air Forces Memorial, which commemorates the men and women of the Allied Air Forces who died during the Second World War and records the names of the 20,456 airmen who have no known grave. From the top of the tower visitors can see long views over Windsor, the surrounding counties and, somehow appropriately, aircraft taking off and landing at Heathrow. The memorial was designed by Edward Maufe, architect of Guildford Cathedral.

* Magna Carta Memorial, a domed classical temple built by the American Bar Association and containing a pillar of English granite on which is inscribed “To commemorate Magna Carta, symbol of Freedom Under Law”.

* John F. Kennedy Memorial, the British memorial to the assassinated President Kennedy. The memorial consists of a Portland Stone memorial tablet inscribed with the famous quote from his Inaugural Address: “Let every Nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend or oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty”. Visitors reach the memorial by treading a steep path of irregular granite steps, intended to symbolise a pilgrimage. The area of ground that the memorial is situated on was given as a gift to the United States of America by the People of Britain, and as such it is American territory. It is maintained by the Kennedy Memorial Trust, which also sponsors educational scholarships for British students to attend university in the United States. The memorial was jointly dedicated in May, 1965, by Queen Elizabeth II and Jacqueline Kennedy, prior to a reception for the Kennedy Family at Windsor Castle.

A large house on Cooper’s Hill, overlooking Runnymede and the River Thames, has played a number of roles

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