A SERIES of commemorative events are taking place in Omagh over the next week as the community comes together to mark the 20th anniversary of the devastating Real IRA car bomb attack.
On Sunday, Omagh Support and Self Help Group (OSSHG) is holding its annual interdenominational service, entitled ‘A Time of Remembrance and Hope’, at 3pm in the town’s Memorial Garden.
Minister for State at the Northern Ireland Office Shailesh Vara MP is due to represent the British Government at the event, while Irish Minister for Business and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, will be there on behalf of the Irish Government.
Michael Gallagher, OSSHG spokesperson, said that the service on Sunday was open to all of the community in Omagh, not just victims and survivors, as everyone in the town had been touched by the tragedy.
Then, starting at 2.55pm next Wednesday, Families Moving On will be holding a public reflective gathering at the bottom of Market Street to mark the precise moment 20 years on from the bomb.
A short service, led by Omagh Churches Forum, will open with a short prayer, followed by the ringing of a bell 32 times to reflect the 31 lives lost in Omagh and an additional ring in remembrance of all those who have lost their lives through similar atrocities across the world. The bell will stop ringing at 3.10pm to mark the exact moment of the explosion.
A local artist will sing a short piece, after which the public will be invited to receive flower petals which they can scatter into the river or the pond in the Memorial Garden. Local businesses and employees are being encouraged to come along or to hold a two-minute silence at 3.10pm.