15 Aug 2008

Ten years ago today.

Lady was 5 days old. One of Gordon's best friends and his mother visited our home to meet the new baby. The sun was shining and the world seemed to be a kind, good place.

Then there was a call from home, a small town in county Tyrone not far from Omagh. For the first time, I heard about the bomb. I couldn't understand; why would there be a bomb going off in the middle of Omagh on an ordinary, sunny Saturday? The Irish people in the north and south had recently voted in huge numbers to accept a peace deal and in Northern Ireland, voters had elected First and Deputy Ministers for the devolved assembly. We had made it clear to the thugs with guns and bombs that we wanted an end to their rule of terror and that we were willing to accept compromises and make deals with our neighbours for the sake of living in peace. (The above photo shows the town minutes before the bomb, hidden in the red car, exploded. Several of the children on the left were killed.)

But the dissident republican murderers didn't care about what the people clearly wanted. They decided to plant a bomb in a town full of shoppers, children out getting school uniforms, day trippers and workers. They deliberately gave false information in the phone warning, so people were moved towards danger not away from it. In the end 29 people including 9 children died. In addition 2 unborn children died when their mother was killed.

A few of my family members were caught up in the carnage. One of them, only nine years old, was very badly injured and though he has thankfully recovered, he had to endure multiple major operations.

So that horrible day passed and the extent of the death and suffering was made known. Today, I want to pause to remember those who lost their lives, those who were injured and disabled, and the families left to grieve. I remember that no-one has ever been held accountable for the crime, and hope that those involved suffer for it, in some way, some day.


Club 166 said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you, and them, today.


Ed said...

Mine too.

laurentius rex said...

I still remember the Birmingham pub bombings an incredible 36 years ago now, and the repercussions of that, no-one was brought to book for that either, though 6 men spent 16 years in jail falsely accused as much by the desire for popular vengeance as anything else.

The week before that had been a bomb in Coventry, only the Bomber himself was killed, but for others it was a narrow escape, I had got off a bus stop at the site of the explosion only minutes before.

Manuel said...

I considered a post about it too but wouldn't be able to do it justice so just left it.

I was listening to the football in the kitchen when the first news came through about the bomb. At first it was "just another bomb", if you know what I mean. By 7 or 8 that evening there were tears and silence.

I have family in Omagh, aunt's, uncles, cousins etc and the wait to hear good news was almost unbearable. What I remember most though was the young woman who was reporting live from the scene, Jane Loughrey I think, who was crying whilst speaking. It was unbearable.....

never again.....

thenewstead6 said...

((hugs)) and thoughts with you and the family.

have to say, on a lighthearted note, I read the first line as "10 years ago today Lady was 5 years old" and had to re read it several times before it made sense!


Sharon said...

Oh please, don't feel that I need special thoughts. It is the people who where there and the families who suffered I want to honour in this small way.

Larry, I've only read of and seen footage of the Birmingham bombs. It was a terrible crime, like so many carried out by callous thugs, ostensibly for various "ideological causes" (as if murderous terrorism was ever justified).

I do of course, remember the case of the men wrongly imprisoned for the bombs. I am also mightily glad that you were not harmed in Coventry.
(I lived there for a few years while I did a postgraduate course at Warwick. I liked the city but wasn't so happy at the time for various reasons.)

Manuel, I know what you mean and wondered if I should write anything but it was on my mind all morning. Isn't it weird to think that we did have a "just another bomb" attitude back then? My children are amazed when I tell them about what it used to be like here. Then again, they're amazed when I tell them about what many people think and say about their neighbours now!