I hope dignified Northern Ireland Centennial parade sets a marker not to decide future over our heads

A letter from Clive Maxwell

By Letters
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 6:30 am
Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

The Orange Order turned out in great numbers to celebrate the centennial of the state last Saturday.

As always it was carried out with great dignity and sounded a note that we are still here. We have been silent far too long and are in danger of becoming a mere footnote in history, and pass away unnoticed. My fear is that, once again, when the drums are silent, we’ll retire into obscurity.

A large section of our community know nothing about their history, and care less. We are reaping what we have sown, the consequences of a liberal tide that flooded our schools in the 1960s, and blew into a tsunami.

The Orange Order’s NI Centennial parade leaving the Stormont estate on Saturday

The schools failed to pass on our history and our culture, but we have to take a large measure of the blame. We failed to take an interest and hold our schools to account. We opted out!

I take responsibility for reminding our schools, and our community, that 100 years ago, against all the odds, our fathers made great sacrifices to create the state of Northern Ireland. We are failing to build on the foundations they have laid. Our ineptitude and our apathy have become an embarrassment, and in our ignorance we even have lost the capacity to blush.

I wonder what they would make of us. Our fathers were abandoned by Britain, and at the mercy of militant Irish nationalism.

Refusing to let London and Dublin set the agenda they took responsibility for themselves, and charted their own course.

I hope, and pray, this parade sets a positive tone and puts down a marker that our future will not be decided over our heads.

I fear that is where the tide of history is taking us, and we have to turn that tide! We marched before in 2012, but it was only a poultice that eased the pain of apathy and betrayal, it wasn’t a cure! The underlying symptoms are still there, and still festering.

Circumstances have changed since 1922. We are no longer a united community, and have lost our faith. We need to adjust to that, and claw our way back.

At the moment we have a poor hand. We have to come to terms with that and carve out enough ground to live on, and preserve our culture. If we are not up to that, we have surrendered our right to continue to live on this island. History will record that - and our children, and future generations, will be our judge and jury.

Only in time will we know if we have lit a candle or a torch. A candle can be easily snuffed out. If a torch, we need to carry it forward, and, like Patrick, light a fire on Mount Slemish that will spread and burn out the cancer of apathy that has taken root in our community.

Clive Maxwell,

Bleary, Co Down