On Remembrance Day, think of the victims of all conflicts
There will be many Remembrance Day services tomorrow to mark the sacrifice of the men and women in two World Wars, and in countless other conflicts, including the present day.
The commemorations will have a special poignancy tomorrow and in the coming week, because they will mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. This has been marked already by several important services, including one held earlier in St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. People have been well-reminded already of the human cost of conflict during this anniversary year.
One vivid symbol of such remembrance is the vast array of poppies at the Tower of London, and the remarkable public response to this has again shown the groundswell of support for the men and women in the armed services, and also the deep respect for the dead and injured in the First World War and many other wars.
Back at home, Ulster knew only too well the terrible suffering of the First World War, and the enormous toll it took on the 36th(Ulster) Division.
However, it is important to remember that people from all over Ireland joined the war effort, and it is fitting that their sacrifice will be remembered officially in London when a representative from the Irish Republic will lay a wreath at the Whitehall Cenotaph tomorrow.
It is also important to remember the civilian victims of warfare, and the innocent people killed on all sides, as well as the families of those who suffered and died.
Today also marks the 27th anniversary of the Provisional IRA's no-warning bomb at the Cenotaph in Enniskillen, when 11 innocent civilians died, and many others were badly injured.
That atrocity has left a deep and painful scar in our troubled history.
Now is a time for solemn remembrance of the victims of all conflicts, and it is also a reminder of what happens when people fail to settle their differences peacefully.
This still remains an important message and a continuing challenge for all the people of Northern Ireland today.