I have a very clear memory of being ten years old and turning on the television in my grandparents’ spare room to watch Newsround, the BBC children’s news programme, and of the newsreader Julie Etchingham telling her audience, mostly primary school children, that she had some very upsetting news.
That was twenty years ago tonight.
It was years before I’d lived in Scotland, or worked in Forth Valley, or heard of a small town in the Central Belt called Dunblane, but I’ve always remembered it. The world was never the same after that; for the children who were there that day, or for the families whose children never came home, or for the teachers and emergency services who saw things that they can never describe or forget.
A friend offered a prayer today for all those places whose names have become synonymous with tragedy.
Columbine. Rwanda. Omagh. Lockerbie. Dunblane.
And countless others.
In their name and their memory, Lord we pray.