On Wednesday we witnessed England’s first major terrorist attack since the murder of Jo Cox in June of last year, and the first one with multiple fatalities since the 7/7 bombings in 2005. Undoubtedly a tragedy, the attack has affected people up and down the country regardless of whether they have friends or family in the capital or not.
The attack no doubt will be remembered for the bravery of the emergency services and those who stepped in to help others in need, and for the people who devastatingly lost their lives, but also for the incredible show of solidarity across the globe. On the day when Big Ben is lit red, and the Eiffel tower will go dark, Britain’s people have stood as one behind the twitter hashtag ‘#WeAreNotAfraid’.
It seems far too often in today’s modern society that we are forced to take such measures of unity against acts of terrorism. Worryingly, since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015, terrorism has started to feel almost commonplace, however never has it felt like such a threat as with today.
Whilst we will not and should not forget this tragedy and those who made such enormous sacrifices for the safety of others, it is rather fitting that it is Winston Churchill’s famous quote that sums up the stiff-upper-lip resilience of us Brits in tough times like these: “If you’re going through hell, keep going”.
Nothing short of incredible is the only way to describe the reaction of the capital today, with one Londoner tweeting “Pubs and theatres still full. Trains packed. Everyone looks a little sadder but #WeAreNotAfraid”. It’s only in times of need that you truly get to appreciate the nationwide solidarity that we as a country are capable of. It makes you proud to be British.
Outside of the Queen’s speech at Christmas, I have never really sat down to watch a speech until today, when I was interested in what PM Theresa May had to say on the matter, but I’m glad I did. I would implore you to go and watch it for yourself, as it is May’s powerful delivery with a hint of sadness creeping into her voice that really makes you brim with patriotism, and simply reading it has but a fraction of the same effect. Nevertheless I will end with a quote from her speech that would make anyone proud to stand up united against terrorism.
“Tomorrow morning Parliament will meet as normal. We will come together as normal, and Londoners and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great city, will get up and go about their day as normal. They will board their trains. They will leave their hotels, they will walk these streets. They will live their lives and we will all move forward together, never giving in to terror, and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
-Louis Allen, year 12