Journey of reconciliation

THE visit of President McAleese and Queen Elizabeth II to the Garden of Remembrance and the Irish National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge was hugely symbolic in our nation’s journey of reconciliation.

The War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge has had a theme of reconciliation running through its own journey through times of neglect and rebirth.

In April 1916, near the town of Verdun, thousands of German and French soldiers slaughtered each other before the battle of the Somme. In September 1984, the then French President François Mitterrand and the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl stood hand-in-hand at the French memorial at Verdun in a symbolic act of reconciliation. I pray that in this new Ireland we are building, the symbols of reconciliation displayed by our heads of state at Parnell Square and Islandbridge will not be lost.

Tom Burke

Ayrfield, Dublin 13

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