Guest blog: Marc Waddington on Joseph Lappin who lived life to the full
Joseph Lappin lived life and pursued his dreams in the full knowledge that he may one day have to lay down his life for his country.
But his life was cut short before he ever had the chance to join the army he so wished to be a part of.
For one so young to be grown-up enough as to be able to confront his own mortality to then lose his life so pointlessly makes this case all the more tragic.
So much so that, on Saturday, as hundreds of soldiers, airmen and seamen marched through the streets of Liverpool to celebrate Armed Forces Day, in a quiet corner of Everton, a memorial was being unveiled to a young man who one day would have been proud to have been on parade with them himself.
Joseph did not die in a warzone in the conventional sense. His attackers struck at him for nothing and left him to die for the same. His young killer, a teenage tearaway from a "dysfunctional" family, had been in and out of the courts system on an almost monthly basis throughout his own short life, and eventually he committed the ultimate crime.
We question why we are at war abroad when we ourselves live in a society rife with problems.
Whenever shocking cases like that of Joseph Lappin arise, the papers and airwaves are clogged with calls to bring back national service to straighten these youngsters out.
Joseph was a model teenager, the kind of young man we hold up as a fine example when all young people are being tarred with the same brush. His killer, who was said to have taunted him as he lay dying after plunging a knife into his chest, was, sadly, one of the few who tarnish the image of youngsters so desperately with their thoughtless and sometimes fatal stupidity.
The Rev Corbett, who led the emotional tributes to Joseph as the memorial stone was laid, told the gathering of the "unjust" loss of life.
It was Joseph's first visit to the "Shewsy" youth club the night he died. Little did he know how and it would become so permanently attached to each other. Here was a young man who would not have wanted to die in vain, so let's hope his memorial stands as a lasting reminder and inspiration to other young people to "live life to the full" as Joseph most certainly did.
Marc Waddington, political reporter, attended the unveiling of a memorial to Joseph Lappin on Saturday.