Friday, July 07, 2006

7th July remembered

For me 7th July was just another day, the day before we had won the Olympics which was a great triumph for the city and a sense of euphoria existed.

Then on the morning of 7th July, that joy was shattered by the bombings in London.

On that morning, I had been delayed going to work, due in part I thought to just another set of transport delays that I incessantly complain about. Little did I know that something serious was afoot.

I ended up that morning at Waterloo and was thinking how the hell will I get to Kings Cross from here? At that stage I had no idea of the full chain of events that had already taken place in London. All the tubes had been closed with a power surge given as a reason. This I found strange as rarely had the whole tube system had been shut down. I boarded a bus, and when I got on I heard a message over the drivers radio for all buses to terminate at the nearest suitable point. My bus did start its journey, by this stage I knew something serious was happening. I rang a work colleague at work to say I would be late and she informed me that they had a colleague had reported of an explosion at Kings Cross very near to where I work.

The bus terminated at Aldwych, and I knew then if I was to reach work, I would have to walk. I managed to ring my mother to tell me I was ok (which was useful as by the time I got to Kings Cross the mobile network had crashed) Walking up Holborn was one of the most chilling walks I had undertaken, people were crowded round TV screens looking at the latest bulletins and the news was extremely worrying with reports of a number of explosions, though what had exactly happened at that stage still remained unclear. On my walk to work, I passed Great Ormand Street, ambulances were outside and little did I know that Tavistock Square explosion had taken place nearby.

As I get nearer Kings Cross, the traffic was gridlocked with the non-stop wailing of sirens, when I reached work, the radio was on and many were listening to the reports and the emerging sequence of events. That day in the office we were also trying to frantically track down people who had not turned into work, being so near the scene of Tavistock Square and right next to Kings Cross, many were deeply worried for colleagues who had not come in. With mobiles not working (they were overloaded) eventually we managed to track everyone down.

At work we had for the first time ever a roll call to account for everyone. Naturally many staff was very distressed at the event, some in tears. Many loved ones were ringing up to see if they got safely to work, they did but for some it was different.

That day I walked back to Waterloo, the streets were deserted, shops were closed, and a city that bustles had effectively ground to a halt due to these atrocities. The days after July 7th really brought home the events of that day. For many days afterwards posters of people missing were posted around Kings Cross, seeing many my own age was heartbreaking and many with all to live for. I especially remember seeing the picture of Miriam Hyman one of the victims of the bombings; this was hard to take, seeing that it could so easily have been me as one of the victims.

The flowers outside Kings Cross station contained flags of every different nationality which shows the sheer diversity of this city and the number of different nationalities living in this great city. One year on, the victims of this cowardly act will never be forgotten. London bounced back from the 7th July as it is a very resilient city, but the memories of the terrible events of 7th July will stay with me for ever.


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