The savage murder and mutilation in London by two Muslim men yelling “Allah Akbar” was meant to send a blood-soaked message to England and the world about the treatment of Muslims. The victim was not important to Michael Adebolajo as he paraded before cameras. Yet we owe it to the victim and ourselves not to allow the victim to be an abstraction laying the street. He was a person and his name was Drummer Lee Ridgy, or ‘Riggers” to friends. He was not just a brave soldier but the father of Jack, his two year old son.
Riggers was a member of the proud The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion (also known as “Second Fusiliers” or “2 RRF”). He joined the Army in 2006 at the age of 19 and served in Cyprus and later stood guard outside the Royal Palaces. He later served in the prestigious Household Division’s Beating the Retreat – a real honour for a line infantry Corps of Drums. It has been a tradition since it was ordered by James II of England in 1690.
Riggers was deployed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan and later in Germany. He had returned to London, where his posting would allow him to be closer to his son and his beloved Manchester United.
Ironically, while selected at random, Riggers was a true representation of the very best of England’s history and culture. He has left a young boy who will not understand why his father was made such a grotesque symbol by these men in the name of religion. He will eventually learn, I hope, that there was more meaning in his father’s life and his love for his son than the senseless act that took him away from his family.