THE launch of a new investigation by police into the Remembrance Day bombing in Enniskillen 25 years ago has once again shone a light on one of the most barbaric acts of the Troubles, when 11 people were immediately killed by the no-warning attack by the IRA.
In the days and years after the bomb of 8th November, 1987, 63 people dealt with injuries caused by the explosion, with one person dying 13 years later from the wounds sustained on the day. But like many incidents during the Troubles, the effects did not just end there. The bomb left a metaphorical scar on the town that remains until this day, with many still finding it difficult to come to terms with what happened.
Only last week, those old enough to remember the worst of the Troubles were given a chilling reminder of our not too distant dark days when prison officer David Black was barbarically shot dead in broad daylight while on the M1 motorway. While many of us hoped that those days would be behind us in 2012, it was a stark reminder that there are still people in our community who will try to justify senseless murder as being part of their cause. But there can never be any reasoning for the taking of life and injuring of people, whether it be 11 people at a Remembrance Day service or a solitary man on his way to work.
Northern Ireland has changed dramatically since 1987 but we have continued to struggle to find consensus on how we deal with the legacy of a past that has directly and indirectly affected so many of us.
Confronting our past and addressing it is painful and difficult, but if we do so with a focus on reconciliation, it can change our community for the better. That approach was embodied by Gordon Wilson, who responded to the horrors of that day and to the pain of his personal loss, with both generosity and an unwavering commitment to peace-building which left a mark on our community much more profound and indelible than those who set out to destroy.
We owe it to those who lost so much during the Troubles to do all in our power today to ensure that a new generation will not experience that same loss.
Our past casts a long shadow over our present and our future and so we need to find ways of dealing with it comprehensively, and with integrity, so that we can build a shared, and more stable future together going forward.