Tales of great personal sacrifice and endeavour always seem to emerge in the days after the most terrible tragedies.
The selfless efforts to help the victims and support the rescue teams after the Clutha helicopter crash and the heroism of bin lorry driver Maurice Willis who died as he tried to stop his runaway truck in South Queensferry last month are just two examples of the extraordinary way some people respond to terrible events.
So it has proved during the awful tragedy in Glasgow’s George Square, where surgeon David Jack ran to help the victims after hearing the commotion as he did his Christmas shopping.
The Linlithgow doctor found scenes resembling a battlefield and immediately put his medical training to good use, although he was sadly unable to save two of the first people he found.
There are other examples, too, of what might be termed everyday heroism, such as the teenage student who pushed her little sister out of the way of the truck so that they both escaped unscathed. Ordinary individuals who rose to the occasion when they found themselves in extraordinary circumstances.
The terrible toll of the tragedy became starkly clearer yesterday as the victims were named, among them Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh. Our thoughts today are with her family and friends, as well as the relatives of all the others who died. It was entirely fitting that the city took the decision to fly flags on public buildings at halfmast in solidarity with the city of Glasgow and all the victims.
It is at times like these, times of darkest tragedy, that we discover who we really are, both as individuals and communities. We all hope that if we ever found ourselves in such a situation that we would be able to help, that we would not be frozen by fear or caught up in the confusion, but we never know for sure. The bravery of those who did so is one bright ray to come out of such dreadful darkness.