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Day of Reflection – 21st June 2022

23rd June 2022

Every year, on the 21st June, WAVE marks the annual Day of Reflection as a way of remembering the losses experienced by our vast membership. While we understand that those who lost loved ones or suffered injury live with their personal and private experiences every single day, it is important and healing that we can come together as part of the WAVE family to reflect on where we once were, where we have since come, and where we want to be in the future. This year we did that with our biggest and most well attended event to date.

On arrival our members were welcomed with the stirring sounds of Carolyn Saunderson’s harp, which filled the evening air with a sense of calm. To set everyone up for the evening, our own Shauna Mooreland and her willing helpers had prepared a banquet of beautifully barbequed food accompanied with a range of salads.

This year, instead of inviting speakers and contributors from outside, we decided to showcase and celebrate our own members from within. Mickey Monaghan and his daughter Seaneen, backed up by guitarist John Lindsay, set the tone with an excellent rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou” and followed up with “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King.

Next we heard from Shane Laverty who read two of his own poems, reflecting on the death of his brother during the 1970s and meeting young people who had fled the Troubles in Belfast in 1969, who arrived in his native Ballycastle. Linda Pywell, daughter of Margaret McKinney, who never gave up the fight to find the body of her son Brian, recited a beautiful poem, which held the audience in captivation.

David Miskimmin then picked up his guitar and sang two beautiful songs from the heart: Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”, which asked the poignant question, “Oh, When will you ever learn?” was followed up with the Creedence Clearwater Revival number, “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” Thankfully, the rain stayed away.

Following on, Mo Norton shared with us her poem, which remembered her brother who was killed in the M62 coach bomb in northern England in 1974. Alice Reid took to the lectern next with a truly moving poem titled “Imagine…” which she wrote about her loving mother Maureen, who was left to look after ten children when her husband was killed in a bomb during the 1970s.

A number of individual candles were lit by a range of WAVE members, in memory of those who were killed during the decades of violence in and around Northern Ireland. The first was lit by Mary McLellan in memory of her father John and all those affected in the 1960s. In respect of those lost in the 1970s, Artie Burns lit a candle for his brother John, his sister Jeanette, his brother-in-law Joe and their baby, Bridgeen. Alan Stewart remembered his brother Johnnie and all those killed in the 1980s. Hugh Heffron lit a candle for his son Ciaran who was killed during the 1990s. For those killed in the 2000s, Kate Carroll lit a candle for her husband Stephen and her son Shane. In memory of those who died in the 2010s, Nichola McKee Corner set alight a candle to remember her sister Lyra and her mum, Joan. As a way of remembering those who died as an “indirect” consequences of the Troubles, Sinead Monaghan lit a candle. To remember those we lost in the past year, Sharon lit a candle in memory of her partner Joe Griffin, who died suddenly within the last month.

Our keynote speakers, Dr. Paul Gallagher and Phyllis Doherty delivered two speeches, which sent out a message of hope. Paul who was injured in a shooting in 1994 reflected on where he and those he had met on his journey with WAVE, had experienced post-traumatic growth as they embarked on the Campaign for Recognition for the Injured Pension; and found their collective voices through their time as Citizen Educators. Phyllis, a recent recruit to the Citizen Education, spoke with dignity, honesty, and humour about how she was caught up in two bomb explosions in the 1970s and 1980s. Phyllis’ recovery in the aftermath was marred with many challenges but her time at WAVE in the past few years has helped her to open up in the safety of her newfound friends within the WAVE family.

We hope that this year’s event will live long in the memory of those who were there. We thank all of our staff who helped out on the day, and especially Grainne McKenna and Alan McBride who put all of their effort into planning and organising this special occasion.