Saturday March 20th 1993, Warrington town centre, and a bomb blast killed two boys as well as leaving many people injured. It never made the top of the news headlines, because some major international news story broke the same day. As for me, I was in Manchester with some friends at the Granada Studios Tour, and got stranded at Birchwood railway station because no trains were going to Warrington (by some quirk we had taken the bus to town to catch the train rather than driving in and parking). Had it been any other Saturday morning, odds are I'd have been in town...
A lot happened in the wake of that tragedy.
The town centre was filled with flowers, many from Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Incredulity at what had happened in a totally non-strategic town was widespread, and awareness of what might have been had an earlier, foiled attempt proved successful made everyone's blood run cold.
It seemed, for those who lived there, that it signalled a turning point. Rather than revenge, most people wanted reconciliation, and a lot of energy was devoted to building good relationships. For sure, it was a long haul, and it's still far from perfect, but the relentless cycles of revenge seemed to be broken. The Warrington and Ireland Reconciliation Enterprise (WIRE, a locally appropriate acronym) is still active as far as I am aware.
And it changed news reporting - never again would some domestic tragedy be relegated to second place by international events.
Tonight I remember.