Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Year Ago, Sirens and Terror. Today, We Stand in Silence

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Year Ago, Sirens and Terror. Today, We Stand in Silence

Article excerpt


SILENT, still, defiant, London stopped today to remember the victims of the 7 July bombings.

With flowers and prayers, public ceremony and private reflection, the city united to pay tribute to the 52 innocent people who lost their lives.

Then the peace of the city was torn apart by the sound of explosions and the wailing of sirens: today, a year later, it fell silent as Londoners honoured the dead.

The two minutes silence, observed across the country at noon, was marked by the tolling of a single bell at St Paul's Cathedral as people stopped in their tracks to remember not just those who died that day, but all the other victims: the survivors still coping with their injuries, the families still mourning the loss of loved ones.

The day of commemorations began at 8.50, the precise moment the first three bombs went off on the Underground.

In a brief but moving ceremony at King's Cross station, in the small memorial garden where hundreds of Londoners placed flowers a year ago, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and Mayor Ken Livingstone laid wreaths.

They were the first of many flowers laid in honour of the dead today; the first of many tears, too, as families and friends of the victims wept in memory of their loved ones.

"We will always remember," said the message on Ms Jowell's wreath. Mr Livingstone's said: "London will never forget those we lost on 7 July, 2005, and we will build a better city as the best way of remembering them."

Among those laying their own floral tributes was Nader Mozakka, 50, who lost his wife Behnaz, 47, in the Russell Square bombing. "I said goodbye to my wife at 7am and never saw her again," said Mr Mozakka from North Finchley.

There were flowers, too, in Regent's Park, where members of the public came all day to place carnations in a 40ft floral display. It was in the shape of a flower with seven petals, and at the end of the day survivors and relatives were asked to complete it by placing yellow gerberas in the middle.

Also at 8.50, across the city, a single were lit bearing the names of the stations that will forever be associated with the attacks - Edgware Road, Aldgate and King's Cross.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, said London would never be defeated. He said: "It was an act of indescribable lovelessness and violence and therefore cannot be dignified with an association with any kind of faith. We must name it for what it was: an act of evil."

An hour later, at 9.47, the bell tolled again and another candle was lit, this time bearing the name of Tavistock Square, where at that moment Mr Livingstone was once again laying a wreath, in memory of those who died on the No30 bus.

He was joined by George Psaradakis, the driver of the bus, and London's Commissioner for Transport Peter Hendy. …

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