MANCHESTER BOMBING: Don’t Look Back In Anger
May 22nd 2017 was the day everything stood still for the people of Manchester, and as someone who has grown up in Manchester and fortunate enough to call it my home, this day will be etched into my heart and mind forever.
For many, Manchester is a huge city, with a massive population. To me, it’s my home, and it felt very small the day we were attacked. Despite the size of Manchester, I personally know at least two of those killed in the attacks and am connected to someone who knew all 22 of the victims. Manchester shrunk that night, and we were reminded that our community was family, who were all victim to the horrific attack.
It has taken me a long time to write this piece, having begun it almost a month ago, because it is about an attack that still affects my home every day. It is a piece that has made me sob more than once, but one that must be written.
There are many untold stories from the attacks, from the families of victims struggling to deal with their loss to those who survived the attacks, and are dealing with physical injuries and mental trauma. I know several people who have been left with severe psychological damage, unable to face the world, and tomorrow will be the toughest days they have faced since the attacks. It is an undeniable fact that every single person in Manchester remains traumatised by the events of the 22nd May, and have seen their city changed beyond recognition.
From added security measures at the MEN arena to the memorials built across Manchester, to more checks on our trams and counter-terror blockades surrounding our town hall and cathedrals, we have seen a major shift in attitudes to terrorism in Manchester.
This piece is to honour our 22 and to remember those innocent lives who were taken from our city by the evil that haunts our streets one year on.
This piece is for:
These innocent 22 were victim to one of the most deadly terror attacks the UK has ever seen. But in light of the attacks, the bravery and resourcefulness of Mancunians shone worldwide, as thousands turned out to donate victims to survivors, searched for the missing, and provided assistance to our emergency services. Our bravery was second to none in the days and weeks afterwards. Skeptics critiqued our memorials, saying it wasn’t going to fix the real problems.
No, it wouldn’t, but we needed that time to grieve for our loss. All of us were aware of what the threat was, but we needed that time to come together as a community, and we made a party of it. We honoured our dead, and we proved to those who wish our country harm that those of us in Manchester, and indeed the rest of the UK, would not be beaten, and the British spirit has never ceased.
One year on, our trauma has been a force for good, and our city is safer, those of us in Manchester are more vigilant and aware of the threats, our security has tightened, yet our spirit has never been dampened.
On the anniversary Manchester will be flooded with hundreds of thousands of people, covering the pavements with flowers and badly singing every Oasis song we can think of and will remember our dead our way. Do not believe for a second we have forgotten how and why those attacks happened, because we haven’t.
But, let Manchester have its day, let us honour our 22 our way.
And remember, Don’t Look Back In Anger