Poignant scenes at Day of Reflection
A new plaque has been unveiled on the City Walls by Mayor Elisha McCallion in memory of all local people who died as a result of conflict.
The plaque was unveiled during the Mayor’s Day of Reflection at Guildhall Square on Wednesday.
Hundreds of people gathered for a Minute Silence in memory of those local people who had died as a result of the Troubles and other conflicts.
The cross-community service was led by local secondary schools, with Strabane’s Holy Cross College and the Education Authority’s Western Music Service providing stirring musical renditions along the theme of hope.
A succession of students from St Cecilia’s College, Oakgrove Integrated College and St Columb’s College, delivered messages from the large stage, setting out the harrowing events of the past and the hopes for a brighter tomorrow. Year 10 Oakgrove student Talor Boyd told those gathered: “Past generations have lived and endured many painful memories from all the war and arguments that have passed throughout our many years as a city. What is done is done, but is it really something we wish to let our next generation face? Most would say no.”
Jessica Oglive from St Cecilia’s meanwhile said: “We have experienced conflict and have lost, together, many people to violence. A lot of these deaths have been of young people who have lost out on the future they could have had. They would have been the teachers, parents, office workers, shop assistants and factory workers of the next generation.
“Our city, our towns, our villages need kindness, strength and for all of us to work hard so we won’t suffer from conflict and the loss of good people.”
The Mayor unveiled a new plaque above the existing one on the City Walls which read: “In memory of all those from within the Derry City and Strabane District Council area who have lost their lives as a result of war and conflict.”
Colr. McCallion then laid a wreath of white flowers in honour of those who have died at the base of the City Walls.
Rev David Latimer from First Derry Presbyterian Church, who was among those attending the event, told the Journal: “I think with the passing of time we are beginning to see that it doesn’t matter whether it is orange or green, black or white, British or Irish, it’s about people and people are part of families, and where people have been taken abruptly away from their families there is pain.
“Our young are in front of the past. I see a ray of hope from our young people, who can enable all of us to be influenced on how we reach out to each other and live together.”