It was traumatic for my children to see the British army en masse coming into our home and searching the house. I recall on one occasion, when our home was raided, my youngest son was standing at the top of the stairs - he would probably have been only three years of age - in his pyjamas. The soldiers came up the stairs, and he peed himself.
Bill Clinton was one of the greatest presidents that we've seen. He was involved in the peace process in the very beginning, and he not only showed himself to be knowledgeable about Irish history and Irish-British relationships, but also he was very sympathetic to the idea of resolving conflict.
The engagements I had with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles were about reaching out and showing respect to the unionist people. I also recognised that when someone like her makes acts of reconciliation as she did do at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, she is 100% behind the peace process.
I know who Queen Elizabeth represents. I know she's the head of the British state. I know she has all sorts of titles in relation to different regiments in the British army. She knows my history. She knows I was a member of the IRA. She knows I was in conflict with her soldiers, yet both of us were prepared to rise above all of that.
Remembering the loss of those Irishmen from all parts of the island who were sent to their deaths in the imperialist slaughter of the First World War is crucial to understanding our history. It is also important to recognise the special significance in which the Battle of the Somme and the First World War is held.
Within loyalism and the UVF, there are clearly people who are not just aggravated by the issue around flags or parades. They're aggravated by me and Sinn Fein being in government. They're opposed to the political institutions - there's an inability of a minority within loyalism to accept the concept of equality.