Today 7 years ago tragedy struck the capital. The day before London had been announced as the winner of the 2012 summer Olympics. When I moved here in September 2008 the bombings were still in my mind. I wasn’t scared of being in London (if I was I wouldn’t have come) but riding the tube did make me feel a bit anxious.
One of my first memories of the tube was riding the escalator out of Kings Cross, looking around and thinking that something here was amiss. There was damage everywhere. It didn’t click for me, not until months later when I went to the Museum of London and came across a Book of Tributes. As I flipped through I read about the events of 7/7/2005. I read about the 52 people who died that day and the 700 injured.
In the run up to the anniversary this week there was a documentary on called One Day in London. It speaks to the survivors of the attacks and others involved, passersby, rescue workers etc. It is tastefully done but understandably quite emotional for the survivors and family members.
The story that stayed with me was a man’s near the end of the program. He spoke about being on the carriage, an explosion struck and the woman beside him was badly hit and died. She was the same age as him and had their positions been switched she would have survived and he would have died. For the longest time he couldn’t get past this. That is until speaking to the woman’s brother. The brother encouraged him to let the ‘what if’ go and live his life as that is what she would have wanted. I think easier said than done but he said those words helped him to do just that.
A monument honouring the dead was erected give years later in Hyde Park in 2009. 52 stainless steel columns standing 11.5 ft tall. Each one is unique and they have been grouped together in four clusters to reflect the separate locations of the bombings – Tavistock Square, Edgware Road, King’s Cross and Aldgate. A stainless steel plaque naming all those who died has also been erected at the memorial site between the park’s Lover’s Walk and Park Lane. If you live here this documentary is required viewing.