The 339 members of the Orange Institution murdered during the Troubles were remembered at a ceremony in Belfast today to mark the third annual Orange Victims’ Day.
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland’s Schomberg House was the venue for the wreath laying service, which was attended by the leaders of all Loyal Orders, in memory of the 338 Orangemen and one Orangewoman who lost their lives in the republican campaign of terror.
Grand Master Edward Stevenson led the acts of remembrance by laying a wreath and paying his respects at the Institution’s memorial in the Garden of Remembrance.
He was joined by representatives of the Junior Grand Orange Lodge, Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland, Grand Royal Arch Purple Chapter, Royal Black Institution and the Apprentice Boys of Derry.
The service at Schomberg House was among a number of commemorative events being held across Northern Ireland this week, as County, District and Private Lodges remember the murdered members within their locality.
Speaking at the service, Grand Master Edward Stevenson said: “We come together to remember and respectfully pay tribute to the 338 Orangemen and one Orangewoman who were killed at the hands of republican terrorists during the Troubles. Many of those murdered were also members of our other Loyal Orders represented here today.
“This annual commemoration illustrates our determination that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.
“This is a day of remembrance and reflection for the wider Orange family. We remember not only those who lost their lives but also the families who lost loved ones. We also remember those who suffered serious injuries and still bear the scars – both physically and emotionally.
“As we look across this memorial garden, we see the crosses – each one a small but important tribute to a life cruelly cut short.
“The Orange Institution will continue to give its support to the innocent victims and consistently challenge the republican agenda which would see the history books re-written.”
The service of remembrance was conducted by Wor. Bro. Rev. John Noble, Grand Chaplain.
This year, the 1st of September marks the 45th anniversary of the IRA attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, which claimed the lives of four Orangemen with a fifth dying later as a result of his injuries.
Orange Victims’ Day is not only to remember those killed in the Troubles but also to highlight the ongoing plight of the injured and bereaved.
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