It is that most poignant time of the year – Remembrance Day. A time to remember, a time to reflect.
But for the people of Ulster, today is particularly poignant, it is hurtful and will bring much reflection and sadness. 26 years ago to the day, a bomb exploded without warning at a Remembrance Day memorial in Enniskillen leaving 11 dead and 63 injured.
The cowardly, savage and barbaric nature of this attack saw those responsible – Irish Republican Terrorists – roundly condemned by all sides of the community. It was an act of inhumanity designed to terrorise the PUL community in Northern Ireland, to prevent them honouring the memory of their fallen; it was the very essence of terror in that it was designed to disrupt and discourage people from their normal activity through fear and intimidation.
That it failed spectacularly to do so is down to the courage, bravery and determination of the ordinary people of Ulster. The postmen who continued to deliver letters, the policemen who continued to uphold the law, the judges who continued to dispense it, the firemen who fought the fires, every single Ulster man woman and child who quietly and with stoic determination continued with their normal lives and normal activities. Who refused to deviate from the norm, who refused to give in to the bullet or the bomb, who refused to surrender the norm.
But it is not just a story, it is a lesson.
In a week which saw our club’s name dragged through the courts and the press for misinterpreted salutes it serves as a reminder of our responsibility to not only our club but also the PUL community in Ulster. Instead of showy, chest beating, but otherwise empty and moronic gestures (which our enemies will make use of to the full) if you really want to help and show your support for the PUL community in Ulster why not take a leaf out of the Vanguard Bears book, and quietly and without fanfare actually undertake some kind of activity which will benefit their community ? I’m sure the £560 raised by Vanguard Bears for the Twaddell and Woodvale Residents Association was of far greater benefit than the negative imagery and commentaries associated with “Red Hand Salutes”
If any of you are in any doubt – ask yourself why a newspaper recently published a 3 year old picture of such behaviour. It damages our club and the very people for whom you are trying to show your support.
Today in Enniskillen a father will reflect on the daughter he will never walk down the aisle.
A son on the missing father at school parent’s evening.
A whole community will join together in sorrow.
But they will not be beaten. They will remember and they will honour.
And others will watch and remember them as the very essence and embodiment of No Surrender.