On 8 November 1987 the Provisional IRA detonated a bomb during the Remembrance Day parade in Enniskillen.
Local man Gordon Wilson found himself buried in rubble after the blast. He was holding the hand of his twenty year old Daughter, Marie.
In the video below, you can see an interview which Gordon did with the BBC about these minutes. Even after all of these years, it is extraordinarily moving.
Marie died later in the hospital from her injuries. She was a young nurse with her whole life ahead of her.
Anyone could relate to the love between Gordon and his daughter and to the loss and immense sadness suffered by Gordon and his family.
What sets Gordon apart from other men is some of the other sentiments he expressed, not shown in this video:
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.
Gordon went on to be a peace campaigner for the rest of his life. He wrote a book about his daughter entitled “Marie: Story from Enniskillen” in 1990. He was a member of Seanad Éireann from 1993 to 1995. He passed away in 1997.
When that day started in 1987 Gordon Wilson seemed like an ordinary man. He was a draper with a wife and three children, and just a few years older than I am now. The events of that day and the remainder of his life showed that nothing could be further from the truth.
In 1996 Alf McGreary (who wrote the book on Marie with Gordon) wrote a biography of Gorden entitled “Gordon Wilson: An Ordinary hero”. I think that is an excellent title.
I have never forgotten the things which Gordon said. I think that the things the he said and did were a turning point in The Troubles.
Eleven people died that day, including three married couples. A twelfth died after spending 13 years in a coma.
Some of us imagined that we would never see another atrocity like that again, especially after the way Gordon spoke and the public reaction to what he said. But on 15 August 1998 (after the Good Friday Agreement) a group calling themselves the Real Irish Republican Army set off a bomb in Omagh killing 29 people, including a pregnant woman. This was the worst single bombing of the Troubles, in terms of civilian lives lost. But it also one of the last, and the last to claim multiple victims.