The young people in the photograph on our front page today are now in their 30s or 40s.
Their flight from the Poppy Day bomb in Enniskillen so graphically captured in the picture was an experience they should never had had to face. It was the most dastardly of terrorist outrages, a bomb which investigators now believe was deliberately targeted at ordinary people remembering their dead on the most solemn of days, Remembrance Sunday. Another 11 names were added that day to the list of people killed by terrorists and a 12th person died 13 years later.
Those young people photographed fleeing from the scene of carnage could never forget what they saw and felt that day. And today, as every day since the bombing, they must pray that their children will never have to undergo a similar trauma. They, no doubt, are grateful that such atrocities are a thing of the past although the cruel killing of prison officer David Black shows that there are still men with hate and murder in their hearts. Yet they represent only a tiny minority.
This weekend will mark the 25th anniversary of the Poppy Day bombing. It was an act which horrified even republican supporters and without doubt helped hasten the IRA’s move away from violence. Yet for those bereaved there has never been any real closure. No one has ever been convicted of the bombing, and those caught up in it feel it was a forgotten outrage, overtaken and overshadowed by the Omagh bombing.
Sadly those who planned and carried out the Enniskillen bombing are still at large and just how far into the command structure of the IRA knowledge of the operation extended will probably never be known. The best hope of uncovering the facts still lie with the establishment of a truth and reconciliation process to deal with this and other legacies of the past.
The PSNI must continue to investigate any new leads but, at this remove, it is unlikely the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Those children in the photograph may never know the identities of those who brought terror into their lives.