It was announced that today the country would observe a minute’s silence to honour those killed on Monday. Where else could I go to honour this but Manchester? Despite the unprecedented step of the army being deployed to assist the police throughout the country and the government warning that another attack was imminent, avoiding this crowd was never an option.
My fellow Mancunians came good again: what a fitting and emotional morning it was. There were tears amongst the defiance, balloons filling the clear blue skies. And the fantastic moment when the crowd burst into a spontaneous rendition of Don’t Look Back In Anger by Manchester band Oasis, followed by thunderous self-congratulatory applause.
How ironic that an action designed to cause division has created a unity I have never witnessed before.
Here are some photographs of the day.
Today has been a difficult day.
-The girls from my daughter’s class crying this morning in the playground in fear for a classmate who attended the concert. (She did not come into school but she was safe.)
-The tales related personally to us by people who were there, as well as someone who treated the injured in hospital.
-The people still on edge in Manchester:the shopping centre evacuated; people fleeing along the high street in panic; rumours spreading, men arrested.
-The distraught woman begging on television for news of her (still) missing daughter.
-The story of the homeless man, normally passed by and ignored on the street, who ran to help the injured, cradling a dying woman in his arms, comforting a young girl who had lost her legs, pulling nails from the faces of children.
-The victims beginning to be named, the ages, the photographs.
People gathering together in their thousands in the city centre in a show of defiance and unity. And on the estate where I live, we joined together in a local chapel, finding solace and comfort in community.
We will see what tomorrow brings.