They lost legs, arms or their eyesight, but the victims who gathered outside Belfast High Court never lost heart.
Yesterday, their long and exhausting years of struggle finally paid off as a judge declared that The Executive Office had unlawfully refused to advance their pension scheme.
Justice McAlinden delivered a scathing ruling that surely made Sinn Fein squirm.
Every legal argument advanced on behalf of Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill was demolished.
"Arrant nonsense", "a truly shocking proposition", "wilful disregard for the rule of law, or abject ignorance of what (it) means in a democratic society" were just some of the terms used.
How on earth did the party get it legally, politically and morally so wrong? Why fight a battle that you're destined to lose in both a court of law and the court of public opinion? There was never going to be any other outcome.
O'Neill has now agreed to nominate a department and progress the scheme. This embarrassing climbdown forced by the courts could have been avoided.
Why did the Deputy First Minister not just do what she was legally obliged to do months ago? She could have saved victims so much additional trauma.
You'd expect Sinn Fein to at least be PR savvy. The very powerful images of men and women in wheelchairs, or with white sticks, going into court at the start of the case, should have caused a serious rethink in the party.
It argues that the pension scheme discriminates against former republican prisoners.
It could have pursued that issue while allowing those who have suffered the most to apply for and receive the pension they're entitled to.
The Shinners were completely isolated on this one at Stormont and beyond. A section of their own base was certainly put out by the scheme's criteria, but it was by no means a matter which incensed or roused the entire republican community. This wasn't a nationalist versus unionist issue. The victims behind this legal action were from all sections of the community.
There were plenty of people who support justice for the Bloody Sunday families, who believe the state committed many great wrongs over the years, who still wanted the pension paid.
As well as Jennifer McNern's legal challenge, a case was also brought by Brian Turley, one of the 'Hooded Men' subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment by the British Army in 1971.
"As a survivor of torture, I was left with long-term injuries as a result of the actions of the state," he said yesterday.
"The delay in having to wait on my right to a pension can only be described as another form of torture." Turley said O'Neill had "no right" to stop the pension scheme and described her action as "very unprofessional".
Words like that wound Sinn Fein. When the party finds itself on the opposite side to a victim of state violence like him it should know that it's on shaky ground.
Negotiations will continue between Stormont and Downing Street over who foots the pensions' bill. Naomi Long's Justice Department will now be designated to progress the scheme. Victims hope that it will be open for applications before Christmas.
"I feel elated," said Margaret Yeaman who was blinded in an IRA no-warning bomb in Banbridge in 1982 and who has never seen the faces of her grandchildren.
"The ruling has brought immense relief," said Mark Kelly, who lost his legs in a 1976 no-warning UVF bomb.
"It's like a weight lifted off my shoulders," said Philip Gault, left with life-changing injuries as a schoolboy when he was injured in on Bloody Friday in 1972.
"I should never have had to take this case," said Jennifer McNern, who lost her legs in the IRA's Abercorn bomb that year.
As they celebrated their win, the surviving victims remembered those who didn't live to see it, like Paddy Cassidy and Raymond Trimble who died so recently.
It was simultaneously a victory to savour, and to shame so many in society for not delivering for these courageous men and women years ago.