Growing up during the 90s the Troubles more something I read about, rather than experienced. I have researched cabinet files, watched documentaries and talked with participants from all sides in the Troubles. But one man whom I never got the opportunity to speak with and who for me stands out as the single greatest hero of the Troubles was Gordon Wilson.
Gordon was man whom was subjected to something that no person should ever have to experience was holding his daugther’s hand as she died after the IRA planted a bomb in Enniskillen. Yet, after this pain, he managed to look into a TV camera just a few days later and recant events of that day
Daddy, I love you very much.’ Those were her exact words to me, and those were the last words I ever heard her say…But I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge. Dirty sort of talk is not going to bring her back to life. She was a great wee lassie. She loved her profession. She was a pet. She’s dead. She’s in heaven and we shall meet again. I will pray for these men tonight and every night.
A bit sombre, I know but we get a lot of hero myths on the Troubles, for me this Wilson stands out. In the 1950’s John F. Kennedy wrote a book called “Profiles in Courage” and for me Gordon Wilson is a true profile in courage and on this horrific event, I just wanted to make a note of this mans bravery and integrity.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs