The Americans have their historic photograph of six marines raising the Stars and Stripes during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the Second World War; the Russians still revere the picture of their troops flying the flag over the Reichstag in the Battle of Berlin on May 2, 1945.
Instead, we have the searing image of a curate waving a handkerchief as he came to the aid of a marcher shot by British paratroopers in Derry on January 30, 1972.
The image of Father Edward Daly, who died yesterday at the age of 82, carrying the blood-stained handkerchief as he led the men carrying Jackie Duddy along Chamberlain St became the iconic photograph of Bloody Sunday. Duddy was the first of 14 unarmed marchers to die that day.
‘Hanky Daly’, as Fr Daly became known, went on to become the Bishop of Derry.
More importantly, he became a courageous advocate of human rights, fighting for justice for the Birmingham Six as well as the victims of Bloody Sunday. He was also a campaigner for peace and reconciliation and earned not just the respect but the admiration and affection of members of all religions, north and south.
We are never shy about lambasting the activities of clerics who abuse their office. We should be equally robust in acknowledging those who enhanced the Church and their communities. In ‘Hanky Daly’, we were blessed.
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