Manchester, News

Manchester Arena attack – one year on

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By Nguyen Bui Vu
Photography: Nguyen Bui Vu

On Tuesday 22nd May, 2017, 22 people were killed in an attack at the Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande concert. Described as one of the worst terror attacks on British soil since the July 2005 bombings in London, it was a horrendous tragedy the city of Manchester would never forget.

One year later, the city came together to mourn their losses, yet it had the heart to commemorate those who died in the attack.

The day of remembrance opened with a the Trees of Hope trail running from St. Ann’s Square to the end of New Cathedral Street. This provided a space for people to write notes of condolences to hang on specially planted trees. Mancunians gathered to write such notes and hang them on the trees, as well as laid flowers by the fountain at St. Ann’s Square. The pavement at the square was also decorated with messages written in chalk, many of them offering words of consolation and hope.

A private memorial service was then held at Manchester Cathedral, Those that attended were the family members of the victims, national political figures that included Prime Minister Theresa May and Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn, Prince William and the Duke of Cambridge.

The public were able to observe the service through a large screen that was placed outside of the cathedral. Crowds gathered together for the one-minute silence in memoriam of the victims across the city at 2:3pm

Albert Square was open to the residents of Manchester for a mass sing-along event. Opening with the poem This is the Place being recited by local poet Tony Walsh to a hip-hop beat. The poem was made famous last year in the wake of the attack, which motivated many Mancunians to stand together in the face of hatred.

Local celebrities and newscasters sent video messages offering words of consolation to the city, such as Susanna Reid of Good Morning Britain, Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder, TV host Lorraine Kelly and Peter Hook of the bands Joy Division and New Order.

Local choirs from all walks of life, from schoolchildren to emergency services staff, sang songs that were meant to lift up people’s moods. Despite the rather solemn occasion, the collective spirit of Manchester was high during the concert. Some of the songs included a medley of ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘Fix You’ and ‘Rise Up’.

At 8.30pm, the crowd began to sing along to a few famous local tunes such as ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ and ‘One Day Like This’ by the bands Oasis and Elbow. As the crowds sang collectively in solidarity for the next 30 minutes, the residents of found the perfect way to pay their respects to the victims of the attack.

At 10:31 pm in the evening, bells rung across the city, marking the one-year anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack. As for a permanent memorial, plans are still underway within the city council, but for now the events of the 22nd of May this year were a proper commemoration. They perfectly exemplified how everyone can come together to remain resilient in the face of violence and hatred.

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