Twenty years ago today one of the most heinous crimes of the Northern Ireland Troubles occurred at a fish shop on the Shankill Road in Belfast when a Provisional IRA bomb resulted in the deaths of nine innocent people, plus one of the terrorist bombers.
This was an atrocity that was both calculated and cruel in its planning and implementation and it left lasting scars on many people, not just those directly in the line of the explosion.
The October 23, 1993 Shankill bombing came near the end of the Troubles period and, even for a society reeling from the dire effects of more than 2,000 totally unnecessary deaths, it seriously traumatised a close-knit Protestant community and led to increased polarisation between loyalists and republicans in north and west Belfast.
Regrettably, two decades on, this polarisation is still all too apparent at the various flashpoints in an area of the city that had more terror-related deaths than any other in the Province.
The polarisation and tension was sadly aggravated by the holding of a ghoulish commemoration in the republican Ardoyne area on Sunday for the IRA terrorist Thomas Begley, a ceremony which was not just insensitive but deeply insulting and offensive for the still grieving Shankill families.
What makes the insults harder to bear and understand is that this type of public commemoration for terrorists is organised with the full compliance of Sinn Fein, a party of government in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Today, a dignified service of remembrance for the nine innocent Shankill victims will be held in West Presbyterian Church on the Shankill Road and there relatives will get the opportunity to quietly reflect on the memory of loved ones whose lives were cut short by the murderous machinations of evil people.
Shankill, like the massacres at La Mon, Tullyvallen, Kingsmills, Enniskillen, Teebane and Greysteel, was an atrocity that stained our society. It was criminality no cause could justify.