Poignant ceremony to remember the Bloody Sunday dead
The families of those killed on Bloody Sunday on Bloody Sunday have held a ceremony in their memory 45 years on from the murders.
Relatives of each of the 14 unarmed civilians who were shot dead by Paratroopers in the Bogside on January 30, 1972 laid wreaths at the Bloody Sunday Monument during the event on Sunday morning.
The names of the dead and wounded were read out by Rossa O’Dochartaigh as a long piper played a mournful tune alongside him.
Those killed on Bloody Sunday were Paddy Doherty (31), Gerald Donaghey (17), Jackie Duddy (17), Hugh Gilmour (17), Michael Kelly (17), Michael McDaid (20), Kevin McElhinney (17), Barney’ McGuigan (41), Gerald McKinney (35) Willie McKinney (26), William Nash (19), Jim Wray (22), and John Young (17), while John Johnston (59) died later from injuries he received that day.
During the service, Gerry Duddy, brother of Jackie Duddy, paid tribute to the people of Derry and those from around the world who have supported them in their fight for justice over the decades.
“You understood our pain and anguish, you shared our frustration as we campaigned for truth, you shared our hopes that justice would eventually prevail,” he said.
“Today we thank our families and supporters far and wide. We could not have achieved any of this without you.”
Mr Duddy said the families particularly wanted to pay tribute to the late Bishop Edward Daly “who was a great friend to all of us in the years since Bloody Sunday and a great strength to the families in times of need”.
“Bishop Daly will be sorely missed by this city,” Mr Duddy said.
His sister Kay Duddy led the crowds gathered in prayers during the ceremony, which was opened and closed with hymns from St Mary’s Choir.
Catholic Bishop of Derry Donegal McKeown and Father Michael Canny spoke during the poignant ceremony, alongside First Derry Presbyterian Minister David Latimer and Church of England Minister Reverend David Jenning.
Bishop McKeown said: “We remember the pain, the loss, the distress, the anger, the frustration, all those things, but we also remember the courage, the determination, the solidarity, the strength of character hat showed through in so many people.
“We come to remember the past, to remember the people whom we lost 45 years ago, to remember the intervening years, to find people with those years and with those people and with our memories, and we trust that we can be at peace and that those who have gone before us can find peace as well.”
Rev. Latimer spoke about the importance of people building friendships and expressing love to and for each other.
“If truth be told we have isolated, quarantined, excluded and judged people for long enough. Let’s on this day of solemn remembrance for precious loved ones killed 45 years ago on Bloody Sunday, let’s pledge to tear down our walls that separate us and build some bridges and show God’s love, which transcends such things as class, race religion, gender and politics.”