Thursday, 7 July 2011

My evening: the 7/7 memorial

Today has felt strange from start to finish. A frenetic pace to the day at work and then yet another stabbing nearer to home, the hours rushed past in a whirl and all of a sudden it was evening. Then the news that the Screws was disbanding, cue loads of rolling coverage and generally excitable news programmes all trying to out-do each other. A busy, crowded day with not much time to think. Or to pause. Or to reflect.

Yet this day six years ago it was also shaping up to be a busy frenetic day. I was Head of Campaigns for a deafness charity and was struggling to make it into the office on time. The boom I heard echoing down the tunnel at Liverpool Street, from what I now know to be the train in front of me which had just left the platform, did not really register other than to be one of those many sights and sounds of the capital that Londoners become inured to in our daily rush.

Then the sirens, then the crowds, then the blackened faces, and then the fear. And all mixed in like a kaleidoscope that kept getting shaken.

So this evening, unplanned, I went to Hyde Park. To the memorial that has been there for the last few years and which I run past regularly in the mornings. Nobody else was there but by the look of the bouquets of flowers many had been earlier today. One from the Prime Minister, another from the Mayor. But then one from the family of Karolina, of Helen and others of the equally busy people who never made it to the end of the finishing line of their races that day. 

The grass had been specially mown and by all accounts there had been a small respectful ceremony. Nothing major. Just dignified. I hope it meant something to the families. Just a few metres away was a boy playing by the tree with his baby brother - the elder one looked about five or six years old. To him this is already history and belongs in a book. 

What I found most depressing about the memorial however was a wreath in the shape of an English flag. It had been left there by the racists of the so-called English Defence League, who routinely attack people and cause violence on our streets. It was precisely that mindlessness that led to the attacks of 7th July six years ago, but they will be too immersed in their hatreds to realise the bitter irony of that. 

But then I remembered the countless images of people who'd never met each other before, on that day, coming together and doing their best for each other without a thought for what divided them. And just weeks later on July 21st in Shepherd's Bush watching the shop keepers and stall holders close their businesses to help secure the Uxbridge Road and help people out, again without a second thought

By this time I was back in the Bush and walking down my street - and I caught sight of a sunset. It's another day tomorrow.


  1. Amazing post. Up there ^^.

  2. Would be good if it weren't for the blatent un truth about the EDL . I would suggest also that as you were not at the memorial you are not in a position to comment, one of the EDL members present had lost someone close to them in the bombings and they came and spoke to us and other families and survivors. Are only concern was they were there to hijack the event but they were respectful , peaceful and all in all decent people. Your attempts to use such a event to push your own views on others is far more odious than them paying tribute!

  3. The so-called EDL are racists. End of.

  4. Yes. EDL are racist thugs, who cost the tax payer a hell of a lot every time one of their "protests" takes place.