Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Time has come for a more apt tribute to Bloody Sunday victims

Thousands of people took part yesterday in what may have been the final Bloody Sunday commemoration march in Londonderry.

Several decades after the dreadful events of 1972 when 14 people died after paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march in Derry, the memories are still raw for those most closely involved.

However, time itself marches on, and some of the relatives believe that this annual event should come to an end.

However, others feel that the proposals to do so are premature.

While it is almost impossible for the rest of us to understand the depths of the pain felt by others, perhaps the time has come to look closely at the future of the annual Bloody Sunday march.

For many years it took place in a divided society where violence had overtaken politics.

However, the vexed issues of Bloody Sunday have been laid to rest by the Saville Report, which exonerated those killed by the paratroopers, and by the Prime Minister's fulsome apology on behalf of the nation.

These developments marked a milestone in the tragic events of Bloody Sunday and its aftermath, and they provided an opportunity for all sides to move forward for the benefit of everyone in Derry and Northern Ireland.

There may now be an opportunity to bring the annual Bloody Sunday march to an end, and to institute a different kind of fitting memorial. That is not to forget the past, or to overlook the lessons from one of the darkest periods of our history.

However, the decision about the future of the Bloody Sunday commemoration is a matter for the families of the victims and for those most closely associated with the event. It is these people who are best placed to agree on a way forward which will honour the dead and also keep in step with the different drumbeat of our modern times.

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