Monday, 7 July 2014

Nine Years Ago Today

London, 7/7/2005.

I remember, 9 years ago today, that it was my first day off after thirteen shifts in a row. 

I remember, 9 years ago today, driving my car to the garage for its annual MOT test. 

I remember, 9 years ago today, walking the mile or so home to be greeted by a yell from upstairs telling me that there'd been "Some sort of power surge on the London Underground." 

I remember, 9 years ago today, of a shiver going down my spine and me yelling back "That's no power surge, that's terrorism. Just wait ten minutes for the official news." 

I remember, 9 years ago today, of running upstairs, putting on the uniform and boots that I'd thought were going to have a day's rest. 

I remember, 9 years ago today, of calling the garage, explaining, apologising, telling them I need the car back and that I'd rebook the test. 

I remember, 9 years ago today, running back to the garage, finding that they'd done the test, refused to charge me for it, and the manager saying "I hope it really is just a power surge." 

I remember, 9 years ago today, that London was taken back to darker days. To days of fear and terror and explosions and loss of life. 

I remember, 9 years ago today, that I was one of the lucky ones. I went to work, but wasn't in any way directly involved in the rescue operation around the bombings. I sat on station as backup in case it was needed. Friends and colleagues of mine were first on scene; some climbed into the bowels of the Underground to help survivors; some climbed through wreckage of twisted metal and twisted bodies. Many showed bravery above and beyond the call of duty.

I remember, 9 years ago today, driving to work through eerily quiet streets, watching the horror unfold on screen, and wait and wait and wait for a call to come in, to be able to be a part of something, to be able to feel useful. For me, it was probably the quietest shift I ever had in London. For too many, it was a shift they'll never forget. 

Perhaps, next year, when the tenth anniversary comes around, there will be a more public acknowledgement of this day. For now, quiet reminders and private memorials will take place. The news outlets will remain resolutely silent, and the only people who will pause to reflect are those who were there - the injured, the families of those killed, the rescuers who raced into the inferno rather than run the other way. 


LW said...

Thank you and all your colleagues for all you do, whether in a crisis or a disaster or an attack. We appreciate it.

I was there. I didn't usually work in London but I was there for a meeting, and was already at the office. For those of us not directly affected it was a slow day of listening to sirens, weirdly quiet streets and wondering how we'd get home, and if there was anything else that would happen.

Gordon Patten said...

A summary that has left a lump in my throat. Although I only watched it via the medium of the tv reports, those shocking pictures like 9/11 still haunt me to see the depths humanity can go to. However it is people such as you who bring the rays of light back into the world with your dedication, love, enthusiasm and determination. Thank you.

Mario Robusti said...

We made a relink to your article and to some photos of Getty Images that could complete your emotional description.

Thanks to remember