07/07: War on Britain: BUSINESS AS USUAL; Tube and Bus Passengers Vow: The Terrorists Will Never Beat Us

Article excerpt


THEY carried on. In the hazy, warm morning sun, a steady stream of the defiant flowed down the steps into Underground stations across London.

There was uncertainty as they walked past armed police and began their descent into the hushed depths of the capital.

But there, on the dimly-lit platforms and in the half-filled carriages, the strong-hearted shared smiles of encouragement and determination.

They came in their tens of thousands. Men and women in suits, office workers, shopkeepers, cleaners, nurses and tourists.

An old soldier wearing medals earned in the Second World War. His lined, world-weary face said it all: "Hold firm. Have courage. Never surrender."

On the muggy streets above, others pounded the pavements in trainers. Cyclists with work clothes folded in backpacks weaved in and out of shared taxis, cars and buses flitting between closed Tube stations.

It didn't feel like a Friday. None of the usual frenzied buzz of activity before the working week tumbles into the frivolity of the weekend. After the carnage and horror, a sombre calm descended across the city.

The explosions that rocked London on Thursday may have disrupted the rhythm of our daily lives but not our spirit.

Those who travelled spoke defiantly and in one voice. "You cannot give into this kind of thing," said electrical worker Thomas Carr. "They're mistaken if they ever think that people would."

Finance officer Liesl Richter who travelled in to the centre of the capital from Walthamstow, East London, said: "I am going to work and I will be using the Tube to go back home tonight and life goes on."

Passengers too got back on the No30 double-decker bus - target of the 9.47am bomb.

Some admitted being nervous but all were determined they will not be beaten by the terrorists. Upstairs, a teenage girl stares out of the window. And perched on a seat at the back is Albert, a part-time City cleaner.

He said: "You can't imagine what happened but we have to get on with things. Life has to go, doesn't it?"

These were sentiments echoed in a tribute left at Tavistock Square - where the bus was ripped apart. It reads: "Yesterday we fled this great city but today we are walking back into an even stronger, greater city...London will go on."

But across the city, with bodies still trapped in the carnage below ground, there didn't seem any point in hurrying.

People walked slowly. Streets usually choking with cars, buses and taxis were quieter than usual. No impatient revving of engines or hands pressed on horns. No pushing on platforms or jostling on escalators. Just 24 hours after the terrorists struck, Londoners glowed with humanity.

Outside Liverpool Street station, some workers clutched briefcases in one hand, floral tributes in the other. …