It is hard to think of a greater evil that could visit a community than the mass murder of a group of its five year olds - and the person charged with their care - in the place where they were supposed to be safest. We will all have our own memories of that day - of sitting with a colleague as he desparately tried to find out whether his niece was safe; of driving home, just to be with my wife and to watch the television news to find out what was happening; of stopping at my son's school gate just so that I could see him and his five year old classmates play in the lunch break, oblivious of what was happening not too far away.
What trauma the town of Dunblane itself went through is almost beyond imagination, but I do remember the very public declaration of the school's headmaster that the recovery to some sort of normality would start when the school reopened after a week's break. That didn't mean that there wouldn't be time for mourning, despair, outright hatred of the perpretrator, and even mutual suspicion and other destructive emotions, but life in the town would go on.
To us, Dunblane had always been a wonderful place for a Sunday afternoon out. A walk beside the river, a play in the park, if we were feeling energetic a saunter into the Laigh Hills, the return past the cathedral and, to finish, a chippy supper! That innocence ended for us, and we didn't return for ages. It felt as though we would be intruding on private grief. This is where something unspeakable had happened, and no longer somewhere where you could visit just to enjoy yourself.
Gradually, though, people get on with the business of living, never forgetting, but no longer letting tragedy get in the way of that business. Personally, I returned through participating in orienteering events in and around the town organised by that other sporting success associatd with the area, Forth Valley Orienteers. It was during an urban event last autumn that my course took me through what seemed to be a school complex, but it wasn't until I was stood at the memorial garden in the playground that I realised where I was. A quick moment of horror, regret, but then acceptance that the town had moved on (as I, then, quickly did).
Andy Murray, and his progress as a brilliant talent on the tennis circuit, has just been the highest profile example of the town's recovery. Hopefully he has provided the first thing that will enter people's minds when the word Dunblane is spoken from now on. Hopefully, too, there will come a day when he is known as the international tennis champion from just an ordinary, if beautiful, small town in central Scotland. And that the press - which Andy is rightly wary of after past experiences - will stop asking him about, and linking him to, the events that he was almost too young to remember.