Tens of thousands bid final farewell to dead republican leader
‘If you seek his monument, his legacy, look around you’
All the eyes of Derry were fixed on the tricolour-draped coffin, every vantage point in the city thick with people from early in the afternoon, as the dead republican leader was carried from his native Bogside.
In one of his final interviews, Martin McGuinness had said he would be judged not by historians and political commentators but by the people. Last Thursday they delivered their judgment, turning out in breathtaking numbers to pay their respects.
Tens of thousands filled the streets as the funeral cortege bobbed its way slowly down Westland Street towards Free Derry Corner – ground zero for the young revolutionary all those years ago – and on towards the Long Tower chapel.
Grandparents and grandchildren looked on from the opened upstairs windows of the homes as the sea of humanity below clambered for a last look, iPhones held high overhead to capture history in the making.
Many times loud applause rippled through the huge crowd as the coffin – with three pipers in front – passed by tricolours flying at half mast, streets completely empty of traffic, instead filled with people.
It was, by any standard, a truly awesome sight – a momentous and moving spectacle, the likes of which will never again be seen in a great city that already seems diminished.
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