The Day of Reflection on 21 June is an inclusive and positive event that emphasises a commitment to a peaceful new society. The initial day was held on 21 June 2007 and, after a period of evaluation, it was determined that it would be beneficial to continue the effort. It provides a voluntary opportunity for everyone in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain to reflect upon the conflict in and about Northern Ireland and the future that is before us.
The Day of Reflection will provide an opportunity for people to reflect individually, for example, at home or at work, within a family, group or organization.
The Day of Reflection is an opportunity for us all to think about the origins and consequences of the conflict, to begin to recognize and acknowledge the suffering caused, to reflect on our own attitudes that might have the potential to negatively impact society, and to make a personal commitment that, as we begin to move forward as a society, such loss should never be allowed to happen again.
Why hold a Day of Reflection?
A Day of Reflection was one of five recommendations made in 2002 following an extensive public consultation on ways of remembering the past so as to build a better future.
Following careful research into both international experiences of days of reflection and local perspectives on the idea, it was felt that there was benefit and merit in proceeding with an initial Day of Reflection. It was also acknowledged that the time may not yet be right for public events.
Why was the 21 of June date chosen?
The 21 June, the summer solstice, was chosen as the date for the initial Day of Reflection as it was felt that the longest day of the year was symbolically important because of the ebbing relationship between the hours of dark and light – a symbol of the pain and hope in our society. It was felt that 21 June represents a pause in the cycle of nature, a moment to reflect on both the past and the future. Furthermore, the solstice is a natural event and nature makes no distinction between races, creeds or political perspectives.
Why reflection rather than remembrance?
It is acknowledged that some people do not need any encouragement to remember; they carry with them every day the memories of loss or pain from the conflict. There are already well-established events and occasions which are focused specifically on remembrance. The Day of Reflection is in no way an attempt to replace or duplicate other traditional or personal acts of remembrance.
The word ‘reflection’ was chosen because there is a need for all of society to not only remember those who have been lost and injured by the conflict, but also to reflect on the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of what happened as well as our own attitudes and actions.
Who is the Day of Reflection for?
The Day of Reflection is for everyone who wishes to participate in it in an inclusive and positive manner. It is for anyone who wants to use the Day to reflect upon the conflict, its wider implications and a peaceful future.
It is important that no one feels coerced or under any pressure to reflect; participation should be voluntary.
Is the Day of Reflection an initiative of any government, political party, church, organisation or particular community?
No. Healing Through Remembering (HTR) has taken the initiative in developing this initial Day of Reflection. HTR is a cross-community organization made up of a diverse range of people from all sections of the community with different political perspectives and social experiences. HTR is totally independent of government, political parties, churches, and other groups.
Does HTR have funds available for groups observing the Day of Reflection?
No. The Day of Reflection is a voluntary initiative and its success will depend on the willingness of its participants not on financial resources.
Will the Day of Reflection be a one-off or annual event?
Each year the day is evaluated and a decision based on the evaluation regarding the next year.
How can my church, organisation, community or workplace be involved with the Day of Reflection?
While the emphasis is not upon events for the Day of Reflection, all groups can be involved by raising awareness among their members and/or offering a place where reflection could take place, facilitate reflection, or assist in developing materials which would aid and enable meaningful reflection.
Can we all reflect on one day?
We can all reflect on the same day, but in ways personally appropriate while not causing offence to others.
What are the core elements of the Day of Reflection?
The Day of Reflection is underpinned by inclusivity and sensitivity. The approach to the Day is one which:
respects differing views, political aspirations, and perspectives on the conflict;
recognises and accepts that there are diverse views about the Day and that not everyone can or will feel able to participate;
encourages a positive and respectful way of reflecting on our past;
promotes support and is a source of strength; and,
reaches out to people across Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
If you have questions or queries not addressed by the answers above please contact Healing Through Remembering by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44 (0)28 9023 8844.