Former Cookstown man Frank Falls, who worked in the European Union, argues that the European identity is one we can all share.
What is most significant about Europe for the people of Northern Ireland is that it offers an identity that everyone living here can subscribe to, be they from the Unionist or Nationalist community, or the new immigrant community now living and working here, who largely come from eastern and southern Europe.
In contrast to notions of “Britishness” and “Irishness” which are so often divisive, the idea of being European is something that all of the people of Northern Ireland, whatever their background, can share.
There are now living in Northern Ireland a few elderly people from both traditional communities who served in the Allied Forces during World War II. There are many now living here who have a parent or grandparent who fought in that War.
Some of those who fought gave their lives and others were seriously injured. They fought to overthrow evil regimes so that Europe could have enduring peace and democracy. They fought so that Germany could have political leaders of the quality of Adenauer, Brant and Merkel, rather than the likes of Hitler and Himmler.
Germany nowadays is a prosperous and thriving country in which I have lived most of my life.
Those from this community who fought in the World War made possible the affluent and prosperous democracies that there now are in Europe.
That affluence and prosperity has been effectively secured by the European Union. And when the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland joined the then EEC in 1973 they also shared in the prosperity that Europe has enjoyed ever since World War II.
The people of Northern Ireland only respect those from here who made the sacrifice of fighting in the World War by at least voting in the forthcoming referendum. Not voting is to dishonour the memory of those who fought, and voters still better the honour the memory of those who fought by voting for Northern Ireland to remain in Europe.