A year ago this week, London saw one of the most unforgettable weeks in it's history.
On the 2nd of July I was among the 200,000 people in Hyde Park taking part in the Live 8 concert. I count that as one of the most moving experiences of my life. It was hard to tell from the TV coverage (which edited out much of what happened between the acts), but there was a tremendous feeling within the crowd that something incredible was happening. A part of this was a feeling of togetherness, that an amazing number of people were pulling together to try and help some other people in trouble. When an Ethiopian woman saved because of the Live Aid concerts came onto the stage to thank people, the emotion was incredible - I've never seen so many people standing in a group crying together!
On the 6th of July London won the right to host the 2012 Olympics. When the win was announced, Trafalgar Square erupted into jubilant celebrations, and many other parties sprung up around London. The whole city seemed to be in a mood of celebration. The feelings of hope inspired by Live 8 and the joy of winning the Olympic bid seemed to feed off each other and combine to form a party atmosphere. It seemed such a great time to be in London.
On the 7th of July, not even 24 hours after the Olympic announcement, 52 people were killed in a series of bombings, and London was stunned. It wasn't that we were that surprised to be attacked - just about everyone had expected an attack at some point. London has also been attacked in the past, and horrible as it sounds, it almost had a feeling of familiarity. What seemed so shocking was the timing, to go from such a mood of collective celebration to one of shock and sadness within 24 hours was a terrible experience.
The following saturday I went into central London to go to the theatre. While some may have expected the area to be deserted, it was packed. Londoners came out and filled central London, determined not to let a small group people change the way they live. The atmosphere of determination to carry on as normal was strange, but powerful. In a city where people often ignore each other, the feeling of togetherness was noticeable and quite profound. I guess that week changed everyone, even if only by a small amount.
Thinking back on it makes me realise just how lucky I was to go home that day from work without injury, without having a family member missing, without this particular day being the most painful of the year. [ July 07, 2006: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
Yes, that was some week! I feel deeply with anyone who lost their loved ones during the attack.
I was in London from the 9th of july - 24th of july, and I remember the strange feeling monday morning when I was traveling into London among all the regular travelors heading to work. Although people might fear another attack, it didn't stop them from continuing with their normal life.
Another episode I remember very clear was the day there were the 1 mins of silence. We were on our way to lunch when the clock stroke 12. London is normaly a noisy town but during that minut you couldn't hear a thing. Im sure I wasn't the only one who got goosebumps during that minut.