On Thursday, July 7 2005, the city of London experienced a series of attacks from four suicide bombers on buses, and the London Underground. Fifty-two people died and more than 700 were injured in what was considered the first Islamic terrorist attack in the UK. It’s one of those days you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing. The attacks began at 8.49 a.m. towards the end of the rush hour on the Circle Line, which is one of the busiest lines, and one that runs both over and underground.
At the time I was working for a promotions agency, and was in the middle of a campaign to give out free bottles of mineral water during the summer. There were two shifts, 7-10 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. to coincide with the rush hours, and we were allocated prominent tube stations to hand them out. I had opted to do only the afternoon shift as I had a job hosting an awards event in Bath the night before, and didn’t want to rush back to London. I recall watching the news before I left my hotel to get my train and seeing the first reports. I called my best friend to tell her to stay in the house who had no idea what had happened, while the whole public transport in London had come to a standstill. I was with a friend called Cat, and as all trains into London had been stopped, we wandered around Bath waiting for news, hoping there were no more attacks.
The mobile phone networks were all down; my agency sent a group text to everyone to make sure we were all okay. Some of my friends had been working at stations that had been evacuated; fortunately all were all accounted for. It was a somber time for us all as stations remained closed, and people were wary of those with backpacks. I recall moving away from those who carried them—that was normal and sensible, and it was better not to carry them for a while in London.
No one should forget those victims and that terrorism is still rife, but it cannot stop us living our lives, from being afraid of others, or traveling. Living in London, I had been used to being evacuated form buildings, and subconsciously was aware of suspicious people or packages. It’s something you get used to, but the community pulled together to help one another. I used to get the Edgware train and change there quite often, and each time I am there I do think about what happened on that fateful day. We, as a society should not take security for granted and it was a reminder that as humans we need to look out for one another, and not to take lives away as the suicide bombers did. Two had wives and children, and one wonders why they carried out these acts knowing they would scar those they allegedly loved. Today terrorism has grown, but how can it be curtailed and will it ever stop? I hope for the sake of humanity it can, but only if society works together to stop it.