As people from Liverpool gathered once
again to remember the 96 fans that lost
their lives at Hillsborough, the fight for
justice was still high on the agenda.
Beyond the tragedy of the disaster itself,
bereaved families and survivors have faced
a 21-year battle for the justice they believe
their loved ones deserve, a battle which is
Nobody has ever been held accountable for
what happened on 15th April 1989, when
Liverpool fans at the Leppings Lane end of
Hillsborough stadium were crushed.
Families have been through court cases, inquest and reviews but have yet to be appeased by action taken by the Government.
At the memorial, Margaret Aspinall, Chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, gave a powerful and emotional speech, praising the families for continuing to fight despite being “on their knees”.
She said: “There was a blanket put over Hillsborough and that blanket has got to be removed.
“The 96 gave their lives for safety – they gave all of us our safety. We are the eyes of the 96, we are the ears of the 96 and we are the voices of the 96.”
On several occasions during the memorial service, particularly as Mrs Aspinall delivered her speech, chants of “Justice for the 96” rang out, as people of all ages united. Many people in Liverpool still refuse to buy The Sun newspaper because of the controversial reports it published in the aftermath of the disaster.
There is renewed hope for families as the Hillsborough Independent Panel begins to study previously unreleased documents. Mrs Aspinall said she was “more positive this time” but the Hillsborough Justice Campaign are unhappy with the panel and do not think it will provide justice.
Mrs Aspinall directed parts of her speech to members of the panel, asking them to “give what the 96 deserve – the truth, the real truth”.
Speaking in March, Sheila Coleman of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said: “There will never be an end [to Hillsborough] in as much as there never should be an end. It should always be remembered because it should never happen again.”
The city will always mourn those lost at Hillsborough because it has affected so many people in the last 21 years. Nobody ever wants to see a repeat and cause more families to suffer.
The magnitude of Hillsborough is felt beyond Liverpool too, with support coming from places throughout the world. Mrs Aspinall explained: “We’ve had so much support from people all over the country, and the world. We get the strength from the people – they recharge your batteries.”
The service at Anfield concluded with a rousing version of Liverpool Football Club’s anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, a poignant ending to an emotional day. With the support of people in Liverpool and across the world, those who suffered at Hillsborough should never have to walk alone.
By Chris Shaw
More Hillsborough stories
Memorial in pictures
Families are still fighting for justice 21 years later; Margaret Aspinall with the 96 candles (pics: Vegard Grott)
Hugh O'Connell reports on Hillsborough