Why 21 June?
The date was chosen following thorough consideration into possible dates for such a day. This process highlighted that there is no single date in the calendar year which is not the anniversary of the death of at least one person in relation to the conflict.
It was felt that 21 June, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, was a symbolically important day. The ebbing relationship between the hours of night and day could be seen as a symbol of the pain and hope in our society. It is a day that is forward-looking and backward-looking at the same time. It is a day which represents a pause in the cycle of nature, a moment to reflect. Furthermore, the day’s significance is related to a naturally occurring event and nature makes no distinction between races, creeds or political perspectives.
Principles and Values
The Day of Reflection is underpinned by an inclusive and sensitive approach which:
- respects differing views, political aspirations, and perspectives on the conflict;
- recognises and accepts that there are diverse views on a Day of Reflection 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 to those who have been most adversely affected by the conflict; and
- reaches out to people in Northern Ireland, including those from different ethnic backgrounds, as well as in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.
Effects of the Day of Reflection
We hope the Day of Reflection will:
- be perceived as a source of strength and support to those most affected by the conflict;
- continually challenge individuals and society to reflect on the past and its consequences for individuals, communities and society as a whole;
- increase understanding of our collective hurts as a result of the conflict; and
- be perceived as making a positive contribution to healing the hurts of our society and moving forward to a better future.