During our trip to Northern Ireland we had stayed over night in Derry. In Derry we had learned about the history behind “Bloody Sunday”, which was traumatic event that occurred in Derry on January 30th, 1972. On the morning of January 30th, ten thousand people were gathered in Creggan area of Derry to take part in a civil rights march. People of Derry were protesting because on August 1969 British Troops were sent into Derry as a peacekeeping force. The people of the Bogside area of Derry were not pleased with the British occupation in the area so they declared the city as ‘Free Derry’ and would not recognize the authority of the Northern Ireland government. The march’s final destination was supposed to be to Guidhall Square but paratroopers stopped them. As the paratroopers tried to make the civil right protestors, they opened fire on protestors and killed 13 of them and wounded 13 others. The British government held two investigations to find information into what caused the shootings. The Widgery Tribunal, which was held right after the incident, cleared the soldiers and British authority from any blame. The other investigation, the Saville inquiry, took place in 1988 and ended in 2010. It established the innocence of the victims and laid blame on the British Army. However no further action has been put into place.
In Derry we went on a walking tour and visited The Museum of Free Derry. I found the museum interesting and inspirational as we learned that the owner’s brother was one of the 13 men that had been killed on Bloody Sunday. The owner’s name was John Kelly and his brother was Michael Kelly. He was shot in the stomach as a result of the firing that took place. I was speechless when John told the group about his brother. As we looked around the museum I viewed each item differently. Each face was no longer just a person but instead I saw them as being someone’s brother, father, mother, sister or uncle. Meeting someone who put his life into opening up a museum to help educate the public on an event that had directly impacted him and his family was very inspiring. John Kelly’s overall goal is to bring awareness to this event so that the question of prosecution and compensation can be further raised.