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Large numbers attend annual republican commemorative events in Strabane
Published: 4 October, 2012
Large numbers attended commemorative events held in Strabane this weekend in memory of local republicans listed on the West Tyrone Roll of Honour and Remembrance.
Speaking following the events, Chair of Strabane National Graves Association and Sinn Fein Councillor Jay Mc Cauley said, "At this time each come we come together to remember the sacrifice of the republican dead from this area, to stand in solidarity with their families and to rededicate our efforts to fulfill the objectives of Irish Unity based on Equality and Justice for which they struggled and for which gave their lives.
"This year's commemorative events were extremely memorable and I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to everyone who contributed towards making them such a success. "The lecture and discussion on the theme of "Remembering our Past, Forging our Future," held in Fountain Street on Saturday evening saw excellent contributions from the panel of Gráinne Mhic Géidigh, Barry Mc Elduff and Declan Kearney and allowed for wide ranging input and debate from the floor. Given the positive feedback received from many in attendance it is hoped that we can build similar such events into the itinerary for future commemorative weekends.
"On Sunday afternoon, the annual commemoration parade from the Ballycolman to Strabane Graveyard was led by a colour party and 4 bands and following the laying of wreaths, reading of the West Tyrone Roll of Honour and Remembrance and the lowering of flags at the Republican Plot, there was warm and sustained applause for a haunting poetry reading of Mise Éire accompanied by flute music and a powerful solo rendition of Four Green Fields.
Main speaker at proceedings in the Graveyard was Éibhlín Glenholmes and in a moving and inspirational speech she primarily focused on the sacrifices that families of republican dead have been forced to endure as a result of the involvement of their loved ones in the struggle for Irish freedom and continuing she stated: "We know that it simply isn't true that time heals - we just learn to live with the grief. And we know that there has been an ongoing strategy carried out by our political enemies to create a hierarchy of victims - to try and convince the world that there is a Unionist ascendancy of victimhood - that your loss is lesser than anyone else's. "But that is simply not true. Each loss carries its own pain. All tears that fall are the same. No parents love is lesser or greater than anyone else's. Grief is the great equaliser."
In poignant concluding remarks Eibhlín directly addressed the many young people present saying, "We need to increase the demand for Irish Unity. We need to become one nation in order to build the Ireland of Equals. That's what our fallen comrades sacrificed their lives for. For our future. For our tomorrows. For the children of the nation. "So youth has a lot to do. And youth need to know your place. Your place is to be the engine - your place is in the vanguard. Your place will be to one day stand where I stand now and tell the families "We kept our faith with you".
"It's then we'll see the rising of the moon."
Following the graveyard proceedings the parade reformed and made its way back to Fountain Street Community Centre were refreshments were served.
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