July 2 belongs to Rescue 111, the Irish Air Corps Helicopter which crashed in the sand dunes here in Tramore on this day in 1999. All four members of the crew were tragically killed on that foggy night 17 years ago:
Sgt Patrick Mooney, Stamullen, Co. Meath ~ aged 34 years
Capt. David O’Flaherty, Tullamore, Co. Offaly ~ aged 30 years
Capt. Michael Baker, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford ~ aged 28 years
Cpl. Niall Byrne Killiney, Co. Dublin ~ aged 25 years
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of these brave young men who died in the service of people, like you and me, who may need them in some emergency situation and each time I look at their names and ages carved on the monument on the Promenade in Tramore they seem to get younger and younger.
Last evening, I witnessed loving echoes of Rescue 111. I was walking in Newtown Wood when Rescue 117 flew overhead. I couldn’t see it through the thick canopy of leaves but when I was driving home along the Cliff Road, it was hovering over Tramore Bay and just as it was making its way to Waterford Airport, a rainbow lit up the sky as if serving as a beacon. I didn’t have my camera with me but made sure to bring it when I was heading out again just before nightfall.
What was beaming in the dark skies but one of the brightest rainbows I’ve ever seen and I blew it a kiss in loving memory of those precious men who will always live on in our hearts and memories.