Tuesday, 7 July 2015

7/7, a reflection

I shall never forget getting home from work a decade ago tonight. My wife had never hugged me quite so hard, I don't think she had ever been quite so pleased to see me.

Just 24 hours earlier I had returned home from a long day at a client's office in Manchester and mentioned to her that  as I was tired I had decided to take the early morning train from Loughborough to St Pancras and onward to another customers offices in the East End.

As I rushed out of the house that Thursday morning 15 minutes late I didn't wake my still sleeping wife. She didn't know a finger too keen to hit the alarm clock snooze button had made me change my mind about getting to work, she didn't know that instead of heading to Loughborough instead I got on the M1 at junction 22 and headed south.

By the time I passed Luton the motorway matrix signs were lit up and telling me and every other motorist to 'turn our radios on'. It didn't dawn on me that something was happening that would change our nation forever (or that my wife might be worried about me).

Radio 5 was understandably sketchy that morning and I didn't really start to notice the scale of the tragedy until I was sat in my client's office and what seemed to be a never ending convoy of ambulances, fire engines and police cars started passing by.

By then phone networks were down and there was no way to contact home to tell Clare I was safe. It was only an hour later that panic stricken she had been able to contact my employers who in turn contacted my client.

I have no idea if I had made my train that morning whether I would have been caught in one of the blasts that killed 52 innocent people and ruined the lives of thousands more. The timings suggest I may have been although of course I may have quite easily have caught an earlier tube or could have still been standing on a platform at King's Cross when the explosions happened.

I do know that for a couple of hours my family thought quite reasonably that the worst had happened.

At times life is as much about fortune as it is about hard work. Who can honestly say what would have happened on the road not travelled? or that journey not taken?

That is why we can never give in to those who wish us and our country harm. If we start thinking 'what happens if...' in our daily lives we would never leave our homes. Our whole way of life, our freedom, would be defeated.

Those who died on Thursday 7th May 2005 unwittingly died protecting our freedoms. The freedom to go to work, the freedom to be on time, the freedom to be late.

It is that sacrifice that should never be forgotten and even if, no when, another atrocity eventually happens we as a nation will dust ourselves down and appreciate the freedoms and the loves we cherish so much.

My heartfelt prayers go out to those who lost their lives on that day. My heartfelt thanks go out to those emergency workers who tried to save them.

It isn't a terrorist act that epitomises our nation but how we respond to one. Today of all days I couldn't be prouder of our nation and our pragmatic attitude of ordinary people in the face of such barbarous acts of terror.

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