The anniversary of Hillsborough is always a difficult day for Liverpool fans, and this year, meant to mark the final time a memorial was held at Anfield and now with everyone caught up in a global pandemic, is perhaps more difficult than most in recent years.
Beyond the parallels of government mismanagement and a need for regular people to respond in extraordinary ways if the world is to be made a better, more just place, though, there remain all the old memories. The hurt. And the need to pay remembrance.
“Today is the most significant day for our football club each year,” began Jürgen Klopp’s message to those who had been set to come together to remember the 96 lives lost and countless more impacted by tragedy at Hillsborough stadium 31 years ago.
“The plan was that we were together at Anfield today, but this is not possible. The only thing we can make sure is that we are in each other’s thoughts. And believe me, you are in our thoughts. You have our thoughts, our prayers and, most of all, you have our love.”
There will be a time when the distraction of football returns, and when it does there will be value in it, as there is value in all of the fundamentally meaningless things we choose to obsess over and that in turn help to give meaning to the daily passing of our lives.
There are of course things that matter more. There is no better reminder of that, in the midst of a crisis that has halted regular life around the world for everyone, than the marking of the day that halted regular life for so many Liverpool supporters in 1989.
Life will return to normal, in some way. Football will return, too, and it will be worthwhile that it does. But for today, we remember those who were lost and the need to fight to make the world better and more just, for their memories and for those who survive.