UN FAZZOLETTO, SIMBOLO DELLA BLOODY SUNDAY, HA TROVATO DIMORA AL FREE DERRY MUSEUM
Questa immagine è diventata forse più di altre il simbolo della Bloody Sunday. Ritrae il giovane prete Edward Daly (ora vescovo) che sventolando un fazzoletto sporco di sangue tenta disperatamente, insieme ad un gruppo di uomini, di portare in salvo il diciassettenne Jackie Duddy.
Il fazzoletto riportante la sigla ‘Fr. Daly’ su un’etichetta, venne poi consegnato al padre del ragazzo, che lo conservò nelle sue mani fino al 1985, l’anno della sua morte. Da allora venne custodito da Kay Duddy, sorella di Jackie. “Mio papà ha conservato il fazzoletto tutti questi anni fino alla sua morte nel 1985 e da allora lo porto con me tutto il tempo – è come una coperta di conforto”. La donna decise di donare il fazzoletto al Free Derry Museum il prossimo autunno, dopo aver ricevuto il rapporto finale sulla Bloody Sunday. Ma dopo un tentativo di scippo subito, si è convinta ad accelerare i tempi per mettere in salvo questo simbolo di quella domenica di sangue di 37 anni fa.
New home for iconic Bloody Sunday handkerchief (Derry Journal)
The image of a distraught priest waving a white hankie as a young boy was carried away from the gun-fire has undoubtedly become one of the most enduring symbols of Bloody Sunday.
Thirty-seven years ago today, Jackie Duddy became the first fatality of Bloody Sunday when he was shot from behind as he fled advancing paratroopers.
As tragedy unfolded in Derry’s Bogside, a young Fr Edward Daly (now Bishop Daly) led a frantic group of men who tried desperately to carry the 17-year-old to safety. Today, thanks to photographs and television, millions of people all over the world recognise this harrowing scene. Now the bloodstained hankie Fr Daly waved so earnestly in truce has been donated to the archives of the Museum of Free Derry by the Duddy family.
Bishop Daly, who is now retired, remembers the day only too well: “Charlie Glen, Willie Barber and Liam Bradley, were carrying young Jackie up Harvey Street away from the Rossville Flats and when we got to Waterloo Street we laid him down on the pavement to wait for an ambulance. When the ambulance came, I pushed the hankie in under Jackie’s shirt to where he was bleeding, although I think he may have already died by then.”
The handkerchief later wound up in the hands of Jackie’s father, Willie Duddy, when it was returned from the hospital among his sons belongings. The delicate fabric still bears its tiny, neat label saying ‘Fr. Daly’, and its original owner recalled: “It was my mother who actually stitched my name onto the hankie because we had a shared laundry in the Cathedral. I think I was told the Duddy family still had the handkerchief at the anniversary Mass a year later, but I never actually saw it again until decades later, when Kay (Duddy) brought it to the Guildhall after I had given evidence to the Saville Inquiry. But I was so emotionally distressed that day I remember little about it.”
Bishop Daly still feels very strongly about this poignant item: “It’s an emotional subject for me, but I am glad it’s here. It tells an important part of the story here at the museum alongside so many other important reminders of that day,” he added.
Kay Duddy, Jackie’s sister, and custodian of the hankie for many years, feels equally as emotional about its tragic provenance. “My daddy kept the hankie all those years until his death in 1985 and since then I carry it with me all the time – it’s like a comfort blanket to me,” she revealed.
Kay had planned to give the handkerchief to the Museum of Free Derry for safekeeping this autumn, after families have received the final report into Bloody Sunday.
However, those plans were hastened when she almost lost the hankie to a would-be mugger in Galliagh.
“I was on my way to chapel recently and outside Moss Park a young thug tried to grab my handbag and my initial thought was: ‘Oh my God, Jackie’s hankie’s in that bag.’ I had planned to give it to the museum eventually, but that frightened me and so I decided it was best to hand it over now to keep it safe,” Kay added.
Sheer luck saved this artefact from being lost forever.