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We must not forget the terrible deeds that inflicted so much suffering

The testimonies of those bereaved and injured during the Troubles tell a profound and powerful story of loss, trauma, pain, anger and grief.

As we know, some families have chosen to tell their stories in a public way, as part of a process towards the truth and to ensure the terrible deeds of our past are not repeated.

Others mourn quietly, their anguish and suffering no less for the privacy they prefer.

Even after all the years of conflict and the many harrowing accounts of sudden, violent and shocking death, we are still hearing personal stories which lay bare the horrific crimes perpetrated on ordinary people and the awful consequences endured by those who loved them.

Seamus McDonald told a conference at Stormont this week how his parents were shot dead in cold blood in front of himself, then aged just two, and his four-month-old sister, Margaret.

Mervyn and Rosaleen McDonald were murdered by UFF gunmen in a random sectarian attack at their home on the outskirts of north Belfast in July 1976.

Mervyn McDonald died instantly, his wife took four hours to die.

Their son, speaking publicly for only the second time about the killings, revealed his mother's last words to the gunmen were, 'Why us?'

Mr McDonald said many victims ask that question but he did not think there was any answer that will ever satisfy anyone.

What did the murders of this young couple achieve? Two small children were orphaned, their lives changed forever. How did the killers justify this appalling act? According to an eyewitness, they casually walked away from the house, one of them with a gun hanging by his side.

It is important we do not forget the sheer horror that was our past, the pain that was inflicted on so many.

This has been a significant week at the Ballymurphy inquest and potentially for the families of the Bloody Sunday dead.

Yes, these grim events took place decades ago but the repercussions are still being felt today.

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