Monday, November 07, 2005

Not-so-forgotten heroes

Many brave citizens of southern Ireland from all political persuasions fought and died in both world wars, affiliated to British armed forces. For too many decades, Republican unwillingness to recognise fighting for the UK as a noble act meant these people went - perhaps not unremembered - but certainly uncelebrated.

But their sacrifice was as important as any Englishman's or Northern Irishman's, and I'm pleased to see there's been a joint remembrance event in Derry where the British Union Flag and the Irish Tricolour flew side by side in the same breeze and representatives of the Ancient Order of Hiberians and the Royal Dublin Fusillers standing alongside their colleagues from the Royal British Legion. Well done to all involved. May your Big move be repeated year after year.

In defeating Hitler, British troops were also fighting for a free Ireland, and Irish troops were fighting to defend, among other countries, the UK.

In a similar vein, Sinn Féin now recognises fallen soldiers, although its definition predictably includes the IRA dead. Although I do not regard IRA terrorists as 'noble fallen', I believe they should be remembered. (I have to swallow hard to say that, but if everyone swallowed hard we might get somewhere).

This remembrance thing is a great opportunity for us all to be Big. Gerry Adams is doing a Big thing by having a Day of Reflection, and Ulster Protestants should recognise that and demonstrate good will towards him for so doing. Gordon Millar has done that. His father died in the Claudy bombing, and he has said he'd certainly think about attending if Sinn Féin and/or the IRA apologise for the bombing.

This is a timely reminder that what we really need from the IRA now is an unqualified apology for all its acts of terrorism and for Sinn Féin to drop its constitutional support for "armed struggle". Because those days are over. It's democracy now, and terrorism is the antipathy of democracy. Go on, Gerry, be Big.


At 1:36 p.m., Anonymous maca said...

Very good post John. It's a good thing to see alright, I hope it continues.

Re your second last paragraph. The IRA'll not apologise, in their eyes they have nothing to apologise for, so unfortunatly Gordon Millar & others will have to wait.

At 3:20 p.m., Blogger Chris Gaskin said...

The IRA have apologised to non-combattents already.

That said Republicans will never say the IRA were terrorists so we can either live in the real world or fantasy land.

I thought the stuff in Derry was excellent, Derry always seems to lead the way in this stuff (Parades)

At 3:29 p.m., Anonymous maca said...

What is it about Derry Chris? There seems to be some unnaturally reasonable (for NI) people in that area of the country.

At 3:36 p.m., Blogger B.U. said...

Chris, do you class an RUC reservist who never acted in aggression as a non-combatant? BU.

At 1:11 a.m., Blogger Chris Gaskin said...

"Chris, do you class an RUC reservist who never acted in aggression as a non-combatant?"


"What is it about Derry Chris?"

I would say it's because they haev a ratio of 7 women to 1 man ;)

Sounds good!


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