The Queen of Great Britain’s visit to Ireland last month was a landmark occasion in the history of this young Irish Republic. For 700 years the people of this land lived, laboured and died in imposed bondage to the representatives of the English monarchy. Many times we rose in rebellion and tried gallantly to cast off the boot of our oppressors, which pressed down so heavily on our necks.
An ability to never know when we were beaten, married with the patriotic vision of those rebels who died almost a hundred years ago, eventually won us our independence. So when the British monarch came and laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance on that historic Tuesday in May, it is hopeful to and necessary to believe that we have finally put the ghosts of our past to rest.
Why is this necessary? Because the future of this worthy land of ours will forever be linked in some way to the country of our nearest neighbours. No more are we the small child in the playground to be bullied and kicked around by the big kid. Small we may be but we turned and fought and more than bloodied the nose of our aggressor. The laying of that wreath signified there is a respect for our prowess and ability to fight when we have to. And what greater cause is there to fight and die for, than the freedom of one’s country? Nationalists up and down the country should rejoiced when that wreath was laid for at last we were being treated, beyond reasonable doubt, as equals by our former oppressors.
The links between our two nations should be nourished and kept strong because of this visit. No longer do we have the inferiority complex which plagued us; we are a strong but welcoming nation. To see Queen Elizabeth respecting rebels, who fought and died against her predecessors’ throne, should make us all that little bit prouder to be Irish
At this time in our history we should be proud of what we have achieved and the future to which we march towards. We will never forget but we can always forgive.