Petty Politicking unworthy of soldiers’ sacrifice

The murders of Corporals Wood and Howes a quarter of a century ago have always been etched on my mind. They were colleagues of my father’s; I was only a mile away myself; there is not a week goes by when the gruesome television pictures do not come to mind. It was an incident of such chilling barbarity that no one who experienced it at the time could fail to be moved by it, particularly not when family members had been luckier in similarly horrifying situations over the previous two decades.
For that reason, frankly, I do not need two DUP Councillors who are not old enough to have experienced the horror of the event as it unfolded to tell me what to think about it. I do not need two DUP Councillors to engage in petty political partisanship over an incident of such savagery. I do not need two DUP Councillors to abuse the memory of two wonderful young men whose restraint and courage are respectfully and fondly remembered by millions, including among people of all backgrounds in Northern Ireland.
Let me, as one who did experience the horror and was directly affected by it, tell them a thing or two about the real cause those two brave young soldiers were here to represent. For it was nothing to do with “Unionism”. It was to give the people of Northern Ireland – whatever their constitutional preference – the right to live under democracy and the Rule of Law just like everyone else in the UK. It was to demonstrate to the people of Northern Ireland the values of common decency and tolerance which had, for twenty years beforehand, betrayed too many of us. Readers will know well which of our public representatives have, in recent months, been standing directly against democracy and the Rule of Law; against tolerance; and thus against the very cause those two young men stood for with dignity and distinction right to the horrifying end.
One of the soldiers had a famous bereavement poem read out at his funeral, which ends with the lines: “Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there, I did not die”. I hope and believe they are both still with us. They will take no solace from petty politicking being carried out so unworthily in their name; but they may rest assured that the real cause for which they paid the ultimate sacrifice will prevail.

11 thoughts on “Petty Politicking unworthy of soldiers’ sacrifice

  1. harryaswell says:

    Well, it would just be lovely if you are correct. However, I fear it seems most unlikely. Here we have all the Dissident IRA and Republican terrorist groups becoming more and more active, fresh arms appearing from PIRA arms dumps that were never de-comissioned as promised, more and more lies and threats and manipulations from the Republican side! We now have a Police Service which has shrunk so much it has become unfit for purpose in the light of rioting situations and many other situations as well. Really, it doesn’t sound very hopefull to me.

  2. James Campbell says:

    “the right to live under democracy and the Rule of Law”.
    I suppose it depends on what you mean by “democracy”; and “the Rule of Law” was demonstrated at subsequent trials when a unrecognisable man was found guilty because he wore a white raincoat. It reminds me of the Conservative MP who claimed he and his father before him had served in the army in NI “to preserve free speech”. Or even those far-off days when an abstentionst was elected but his Unionist opponent took the seat (because abstentionism was against the law).

    Don’t you see any irony in fulminating against DUP councillors for “politicking”? Was naming their Party allegiance not more of the same? Let he without sin cast the first stone. Le us mourn all the dead without making political capital.

    • On the contrary, the DUP Cllrs sought to make deliberate capital out of it, and that point needs made.

      If you want a group of people serious about reflection of the past, vote for someone else.

      You named the Conservatives yourself, after all!

  3. Political Tourist says:

    What exactly were the two soldiers doing that day driving into the middle of a funeral.
    That was never answered.

    • harryaswell says:

      I seem to remember that they merely took a wrong turn and ended it up in the middle of the funeral! – It was a mistake, they just got lost. Hardly sufficient excuse to murder them in such a savage fashion. So much for civilised behaviour.

      • harryaswell says:

        Oh, and it is a good idea to Google the names. You will see that the report states pretty clearly that the two arrived unexpectedly to them in the middle of the funeral.The whole affair was extremely grisly, but not a surprise since the PIRA were responsible for far worse in the past, and since. Democracy? – A joke! Rule of Law? What rule, what law? A joke!

      • James Campbell says:

        It seems unlikely that “they merely took a wrong turn”. Stewards attempted to divert them and they took no notice. In the context of the previous attack on a funeral, the heightened tensions, the mood of the crowd, them being armed and having army identification, I’d say they were pretty badly served by whoever sent them into the area, for whatever reason.

  4. Mervyn says:

    If all we had was the Alliance Party, Ulster would be ruled totally by Sinn Fein/IRA. The Alliance Party is SF/IRA’s Friends in City Hall. Alliance are totally spineless, worthless and misguided hypocrites.

    • If you can’t tell difference between Alliance and SF, there’s only one of us misguided!

      • harryaswell says:

        He is, of course, relating to a worst case scenario which you are refusing to recognise! Alliance has taken upon itself to to lecture us all on best behaviour, and is seen as totally sanctimonious, judgemental, and, indeed, misguided. Does it not occur to you that Alliance may have been infiltrated by Republican activists? Imagine! Judging from the comments already posted, that would explain why Alliance misjudged the flag problem so badly. You are all now Fifth Columnists for the Republican Movement and are up for a United Ireland on their terms!!

  5. Political Tourist says:

    Don’t wish to seem petty but wasn’t the funeral procession in the middle of the Falls Rd.
    Seems a bit strange why a car, any car, would plough into a funeral procession days after the Michael Stone escapade at Milltown.
    None of this was ever answered at the time.

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