Channing's heroism will never be forgotten
The death of Corporal Channing Day, who was killed in Afghanistan while trying to help a wounded colleague, brings home to all of us the cruelty and the tragedy of war.
The news stories of service personnel killed and injured in far-flung theatres of conflict are all too soon overtaken by other urgent headlines, but it is important to remember that these are real people with families and friends who have to live with the consequences of war.
Channing Day will be greatly mourned in her native village of Comber, and her untimely death has created huge waves of sympathy from people all over this province, and far beyond it.
The war in Afghanistan is itself divisive, but the tributes to Channing have risen far above the rights or wrongs of this conflict.
The sadness about her death has transcended the usual political divides within this province, and it is significant that the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness offered condolences to Corporal Day's family.
In some ways Channing was an ordinary young woman, with a warm personality, and a zest for life. Her enthusiasm and sincerity touched other people, and her friendly approach typified her as the likeable "girl next door" who related to everybody.
However, Channing Day was also an extraordinary young woman who was dedicated to helping others, and who did not flinch in facing enormous dangers in the line of duty.
As a combat medical technician, she was drawn in to the heat of battle, with all the enormous dangers that this implied. Despite this, she never wavered.
She died a hero, and her courage will long be remembered in the annals of military history. Her example will be an inspiration to others, and also a reminder of the price paid by so many on behalf of their country.
All too soon the headlines will move on, but Channing Day will be long remembered. All our thoughts and sympathies go out to her family and her many friends at this unspeakably tragic time.