Tuesday, July 7, 2009

England MY England: Today, tomorrow and always

A woman walks around the new permanent memorial in London's Hyde Park to honour the victims of the 7 July 2005 bombings (courtesy BBC)

Four years ago today, terrorist thugs attacked the London "tube" system, as well as the transport system. Today, a memorial to those who lost their lives that day was officially unveiled in Hyde Park. All sorts of dignitaries were there:
Prince Charles has paid tribute to the families who lost loved ones in the 7 July 2005 London bombings, at a memorial in Hyde Park.

He said that their bravery "offered us hope for the future".

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Minister for London Tessa Jowell joined the Prince of Wales at the unveiling of the 52 steel pillars.

Fifty-two people died after suicide bombers detonated explosives on board three Underground trains and a bus.

The victims' relatives at the unveiling said the permanent memorial, between the park's Lover's Walk and Park Lane, was a "fitting tribute"....

Prince Charles said the date of the bombings "would be etched vividly on all our minds as a brutal intrusion into the lives of thousands of people".

He said: "The families of the victims, the survivors and the stout hearted emergency services remain vey much in our thoughts and prayers.

"You are a moving example of holding together bravery in the face of such inhuman and deplorable outrage and you offer us hope for the future," he added. (BBC here)

That was a terrible day, wrought by cowardly terrorists who tried to bring London to her knees. What a foolish notion!

Mr Blair, [British PM]who flew back to London from the G8 summit in Gleneagles, condemned the terrorists and paid tribute to the stoicism and resilience of the people of London.

"They are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cow us, to frighten us out of doing the things that we want to do," he said in a televised statement from Downing Street....(BBC)

Much has been written since that day. Go here for one of the most extensive coverages.

As hundreds were injured in the various attacks, 52 people lost their lives:

Fifty-two people were killed in the four bombs which exploded in London on 7 July 2005. Click on the names below to read an obituary of each victim. They are grouped by the location of the blasts which claimed their lives.
James Adams Samantha Badham Philip Beer Anna Brandt Ciaran Cassidy Rachelle Chung
For Yuen
Elizabeth Daplyn
Arthur Frederick Karolina Gluck Gamze Gunoral Lee Harris Ojara Ikeagwu Emily Jenkins Adrian Johnson
Helen Jones Susan Levy Shelley Mather Michael Matsushita James Mayes Behnaz Mozakka Mihaela Otto

Atique Sharifi Ihab Slimane Christian Small Monika Suchocka Mala Trivedi

Jamie Gordon Giles Hart Marie Hartley Miriam Hyman Shahara Islam Neetu Jain

Sam Ly Shyanuja Parathasangary Anat Rosenberg Philip Russell William Wise Gladys Wundowa
Lee Baisden Benedetta Ciaccia Richard Ellery Richard Gray Anne Moffat Fiona Stevenson Carrie Taylor
Michael Brewster Jonathan Downey David Foulkes Colin Morley Jennifer Nicholson Laura Webb

Remember these faces and names. (source. Okay, I screwed up, so be sure and follow the link to meet the people behind the numbers. )

Back then, the Mayor of London said:

Mayor's Statement
7 July 2005

This was a cowardly attack, which has resulted in injury and loss of life. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been injured, or lost loved ones. I want to thank the emergency services for the way they have responded....

I'd like to thank Londoners for the calm way in which they have responded to this cowardly attack and echo the advice of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair - do everything possible to assist the police and take the advice of the police about getting home today.

I have no doubt whatsoever that this is a terrorist attack. ...

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. ...Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved...

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.

In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail...(here - and yes, that IS my emphasis)

Today in Hyde Park, families and friends of the victims of 7/7 gathered to honour them:

Saba Mozakka lost her mother on that day, and was an integral part of the committee struck to design and implement the memorial. She says:

Saba Mozakka
It's an amazing tribute to my mum and the 51 others who were so viciously and brutally taken from us
Saba Mozakka

From Peter Hunt, BBC:

"When the bombers struck", one of the bereaved told me, "they took away my today and my tomorrow." Four years on, the emotions are still raw, but mixed with the pain is a sense of pride that a national memorial now exists.

What was very striking about this simple, sombre service was the sheer number of relatives gathered in front of the 52 stainless steel pillars. Hundreds of lives have been affected directly by the attacks. Their loved ones were of all ages, both sexes and many races.

After Prince Charles had delivered a powerful and personal address, the relatives, in the pouring rain, moved forward and placed flowers beside the memorial. I saw a boy in shorts and a baseball cap next to an elderly woman in a wheelchair. They all brought roses. A red one symbolising love, a white rose for peace. (here) Go here to watch a video of today's ceremonies.

Note to terrorists: Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.

Let us remember. Today, tomorrow, and always.

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