7/7: In Memoriam

imageIt has been ten years since a group of suicide bombers coordinated a series of attacks across the London transport system during the morning rush hour, killing fifty-two people and injuring over seven hundred.

I was at a job interview in Birmingham, my first since graduating. I didn’t want to be there – it was for a telecommunications company and I knew that it would mostly entail cold-calling the general public – but fear of not being able to pay the bills meant that I found myself in a room with about twenty-five other people, making polite conversation and building structures with Meccano to demonstrate my ‘team working’ skills.

Suddenly, one of the interviewers rushed in.

“Does anyone have family living in Central London,” she asked. “A bomb has gone off on a tube near Kings Cross.”

My stomach flipped. My younger sister lived there, and I knew she used Kings Cross to get to work. I left the room and called her. No answer. I called her again. No answer. I started to get a bit panicked, and rang Mum, who told me that my sister had just rung her and told her that she was ok, but had to go because everywhere was chaos. I don’t think I have ever felt so relieved…

That is, until, she told me that my sister was near Kings Cross at the time, but didn’t get on the Tube. I have asked my sister about it since, but her response has always been that it’s not a day she wants to really talk about, and I can understand why.

When I got home and realised the scale of the attacks that had taken place, I felt sick. To have such an atrocity take place at any time and in any place is awful, but on your own people, by your own people, is something I will never understand.

My thoughts are with the families and friends of everyone who was affected that day…

30 thoughts on “7/7: In Memoriam

  1. I have two cousins – sisters – who live and work in Central London. I was at work in Cheltenham when I heard the news, and I remember a frightening hour of trying to get my Nan on the phone to see if she’d heard anything. It could easily had been *both* of my cousins lost that day, but K had decided to avoid King’s Cross and cycle to work, while S had overslept and missed the bus that would have killed her (we all know which bus that was).

    • I remember 9/11 just as clearly. I was playing in a string quartet at a primary school as we were doing a workshop for a group of kids. I received a text message from my boyfriend at the time which said ‘The World Centre has been bombed.’ I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. It was only when I got home and turned on the television just in time to see the second tower collapse. My dad rang the house from work and told us that he was coming home and we all had to stay in, and he picked up my mum on the way from her workplace. Seems a bit ridiculous now considering we were 5,000 miles away, but we were all scared.

      The thing that will always stay with me on that day was that we unknowingly watched several thousand people die within just a few hours live on television. I will never ever forget it…

      A belated thank you for sharing the post on Twitter too…

  2. How frightening… what a thing to go through. I used to go to NYC one day per week for my job, but I was not there on 9/11. But I knew many people who were – all the people in the office I was travelling to. Plus my own brother. It was completely terrifying – and only a little less so once I learned that everyone I knew was safe. So many others were not as lucky.

    • Absolutely, and I’m so glad your loved ones were ok. I’ve said this in a previous comment, but the thing that will always stay with me is that we literally watched thousands of people die before our eyes live on television without realising it… I will never forget it…

  3. Life can change in a moment. Those that happened, by chance, to be unexpectantly clear of that area that day can wonder if divine intervention was at work for them.

    • Absolutely – it’s that point of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time that can mean the difference between life and death and that’s scary…

  4. My brother was around the corner from the bus explosion when it went off. I remember there being problems with the mobile phone network and we just couldn’t get hold of him for hours and hours. But he was fine. He’s always finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    There was a plane in ’89, I think, that landed just on the edge of a motorway. My brother was on his way back from a school trip in London when the plane crashed. He was quarter of a mile behind when the plane crashed. So, so lucky.

    But many people weren’t on 7/7. But I loved the attitude of the British people afterwards. The next day the tubes were full and running as normal. It was wonderfully British. The terrorists wanted us to be frightened but the British didn’t give them that pleasure. And that, coupled with all those who helped, made me proud to be British. Proud to be human, even.

    But 10 years on, it still really hurts. I don’t think it’ll ever stop hurting.

    • Wow, your brother has certainly been both unlucky and yet lucky at the same time.

      I totally agree about the British spirit. I could wax lyrical all day about what is wrong with the country, but when we need to, we are the best people in the world for supporting each other…

  5. I remember the day very well as I was both living and working in Central London. However, I hardly ever speak about it. It’s too painful a day to talk about but, today, I remember those 52 people who lost their lives. I was one of the lucky ones as were thousands of others.

  6. I remember being evacuated off a train with no information forthcoming. Then finally getting to the office and hearing it on the BBC, and then a mad panic to try and reach my then-fiancé on the phone. Instead of taking the Tube, he walked to work that morning, and was thus safe. Walking two hours to get home. And then realising that a friend & colleague had died. What a day.

  7. Innocent people are often targeted because it’s so unexpected, unlike a war zone or battlefield. It’s difficult even to try and understand the mentality of someone who can walk among a peaceful crowd knowing they are going to kill and maim them. I was almost caught up in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974, killing 33 people and injuring almost 300. Only for my work supervisor telling me to leave a delivery for another day, I would have been on one of the three Dublin streets that were blown up. I remember standing on the street and hearing the explosion coming from where I should have been making that delivery. Among the fatalities that day was a young couple and their two little girls, the whole family wiped out. I was sixteen at the time.

    • That’s awful. Thank goodness that your boss gave your a differemt place to be in! Mum and my sisters were in Manchester when the IRA blew up the Arndale centre in the 1990’s, but weren’t anywhere near it thank goodness. You could see the smoke from my house, which is miles away.

      I totally agree about the mentality that someone must have to do something like that. The recent atrocity in Sousse has really got me at the minute – I taught one of the people killed and I can’t comprehend the fact that he was just on a beach with his brother, uncle and grandfather enjoying the sun, and within minutes only the brother was still alive. Just awful…

  8. It’s always amazing how those times stand out in your memory. I’m sure their loved ones appreciate others remembering and caring about the tragedy.

    • There was a huge memorial service that took place yesterday and the country stopped to pay their respects… I think that despite our differences, it’s times like these where we can all come together and support each other…

  9. I can only imagine your feet!! After 9/11 I worked scrims stomach the U.S. Embassy. We worried despite being Canadian we could be next. Seeing the tragedy in UK 7/7 only hon firmed how vulnerable we are. Big hugs to you and your family xx

  10. I was living in Australia then but my brother and two cousins both lived in London. My brother missed being on the train by only a half hour or so, showing up at the station to be turned away because ‘something’ had happened on the line. He spent the rest of the day searching for his girlfriend (he found her eventually). One of my cousins slept late and so missed it. The other one was at work when the bus bomb went off, very close to her office. Meanwhile, I was trying to get hold of someone, anyone in my UK family to find out if they were OK – it took a whole day before I could get through. And now, so recently, the horror in Tunisia. My aunt and uncle were booked to go to that resort next week – they have since cancelled. It is such a shame that there is a small 1% of the world who seems to wish for the other 99% to be cowed, living in fear of what mad act they might commit next. There is no religion that advocates murder – to say so is to twist something which is supposed to uplift humanity, not destroy it.

    • That must have been so scary for you Helen, and Im so glad your family was ok.

      I taught one of the victims in Tunisia – I left the school a few years ago but I remember him and he was a credit. he was just a young man on holiday with his family and he, his uncle and his grandfather were killed, with his younger brother being the on,y one to survive. It’s just unbelievable that someone could walk onto a beach and just kill people at random.

      • Oh, that’s so very sad, Suzie – I’m so sorry you one one of the victims. But then I’m sorry for all who experience loss this way, it’s unimaginably awful.

      • I just can’t get over things like this. I left the school when he was much younger, so I can’t claim to have known him very well, but I remember him… When people are involved in accidents, it’s tragic and senseless, but when something like this happens I find it difficult to try and come to terms with because there isn’t simply no reasoning or justification…

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