Manchester bombing victims remembered on first anniversary
The city of Manchester on Tuesday marks the first anniversary of a bomb attack outside a pop concert by teen idol Ariana Grande that killed 22 people with flower tributes, a concert and a memorial service.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Prince William will join families of the victims — seven of whom were children under the age of 18 — for a ceremony to remember the May 22 Manchester Arena attack.
They will attend the service at Manchester Cathedral alongside first responders, civic leaders and some of the scores injured in the bombing.
Salman Abedi, a British man of Libyan heritage, blew himself up outside the venue, but an investigation into how the attack came about is still ongoing.
“The targeting of the young and innocent as they enjoyed a carefree night out… was an act of sickening cowardice,” Theresa May wrote in the city’s local paper the Manchester Evening News.
“It was designed to strike at the heart of our values and our way of life in one of our most vibrant cities, with the aim of breaking our resolve and dividing us. It failed.”
The prime minister said that “such appalling acts of wickedness” would strengthen Britain’s resolve “to defeat such twisted ideologies and beliefs.”
‘Nobody will ever forget’
Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford paid tribute to his home city, writing on the club’s website about the “unimaginable” attack.
“Nobody will ever forget what happened but the way Manchester pulled together shows you everything you need to know about the people here. Seeing how everyone reacted made me so proud to be a Mancunian.”
United went on to win the Europa League final against Ajax on May 24, dedicating the victory to the victims of the bombing.
“We all spoke about it beforehand in the dressing room before we went out for the final and when the game had finished and we’d won, the first thing we did was make sure we showed our respects for what had happened back home,” Rashford said.
Rashford and team-mate Jesse Lingard visited survivors of the attack shortly afterwards.
“We went to put smiles on faces where we could but they ended up helping us and making us smile,” he added. “I really can’t put into words how brave those incredible kids are, how brave all the victims are. I can’t find the words to do them justice.”
‘A city in recovery’
Tuesday’s remembrance service will be shown on a big screen in nearby Cathedral Gardens, as well as at churches in York, Liverpool and Glasgow.
It will incorporate a minute of silence at 2.30 pm (1330 GMT), which will also be marked at British government buildings nationwide.
More than 3,000 singers from local choirs, including a group who were at the arena on the night, will join forces later Tuesday at a “Manchester together” event in a city centre square featuring half an hour of communal singing.
Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, told BBC Radio that all those impacted would be “at the very forefront of our minds” during the day.
“We’re stronger than we were, we’re more together and there is a more palpable sense of community spirit, but underneath the scars are very real and they’re very deep,” he said.
“We’re a city in recovery and we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Grande, who had just finished performing when the bomber struck outside, shared a message of support for those affected.
“I love you with all of me and am sending you all of the light and warmth I have to offer on this challenging day,” she wrote.
The atrocity was one of a spate of terrorist attacks to hit Britain last year — one in Manchester and four in London — that included bombings and deadly violence with vehicles and knives.
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