7/7

Today it’s been ten years since the 7/7 London bombings in 2005.

Thousands of people set off on their commute to work as they did every day; only for many to be left dead, hundreds injured and everyone a little bit changed by what unfolded that day.

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“I remember walking past a bus. Fifteen seconds later, that bus exploded” – Buzzfeed

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“My mum was on the tube behind the one that blew up. She missed that tube because she bought a croissant and a tea. She then went to the bus station but realised she’d just missed the bus she needed to get, so she decided to walk.Then she heard that the bus had blown up. She went and sat in a beer garden with her colleagues, all of them worried about leaving to go home” – Buzzfeed

I remember it well.

I was only thirteen but the massive shock and fear that the country felt makes it one of those days you never forget. I was at school and someone had caught wind of what had happened just before lunch time. The lack of internet access through our mobile phones at the time meant that we all gathered in the school’s printing room where they had a radio; listening for hours. I just remember all of us standing in a line getting in a lot of trouble for not telling the teachers where we were, having had missed two of our lessons that afternoon.

I think they were just desperately trying to avoid a panic amongst a thousand kids. We only lived around two hours away from the capital in Ipswich so a lot of people had friends and family that lived there and took the public transport in London during rush hour everyday. Only today did I realise that my new home in Leeds is just a five minute walk from where the bombs were supposedly made.

It was so frightening. It was really the first time everyone became aware and scared of terrorist activity in this country. 9/11 had only happened four years previous so the horror of that was still very fresh in people’s minds as the bombs struck; with everyone knowing and remembering the devastating effects that had left behind.

The four explosions in London in the underground and on a bus killed 52 civilians, injured over 700 and I’m sure had a massive effect on thousands more of friends, family and complete strangers on-looking across the country.

“My wife, daughter and myself were staying in a hotel at Russell Square. We heard the explosion. As a soldier, I knew what a bomb sounded like” – Buzzfeed

Memorial in Hyde Park. Each of the 52 steel pillars represents one life lost in the 7/7 attacks.

Memorial in Hyde Park. Each of the 52 steel pillars represents one life lost in the 7/7 attacks.

Being that the ten-year anniversary is amongst us, there have been a lot of news articles recently focusing on the lasting psychological effects of that day. To date, the NHS trauma response team has been able to screen 516 survivors, to which 34% of them were offered further psychological help.

It is estimated that between 25-30% of people involved in a Criterion A event can go on to develop full PTSD; which if correct, would imply that over one thousand people have developed the disorder from the London bombings.

“I walked to meet my husband from work with my daughter as he didn’t work far from home and I encountered literally hundreds of people walking down the road making their way home from work by foot as the buses and tubes weren’t running. It was surreal – no one was chatting or laughing. Everyone looked a bit grim and shell-shocked. When the buses got back to normal a few days later, I kept glancing at the number 30 top deck and noticing no one would sit up there. It was always empty. One afternoon I was with a few of my female relatives and we saw someone sitting on the top deck of the 30 bus (alone) and my relatives started clapping and cheering him” – Buzzfeed

But what about the people who weren’t there? Could it have affected them too?

Now I have never been a fan of the London underground regardless of this incident; I don’t like the feeling of being trapped and closed in. Living outside of the city I’d only ever used the service a handful of times up until a year or so ago, and so it wasn’t something I was used to or comfortable with at all.

But are people who were never afraid of the service before, afraid of it now because of the association with terrorist attack? I don’t know a statistical or researched answer to this question  as all of the research I can find focuses on the survivors and people directly affected by the event, but surely there must be thousands of people who now feel uncomfortable and afraid of the underground because of it.

“For the first time, I realised I was mixed race and had an Islamic last name” – Buzzfeed

For people that had lived in London and had taken those same trains every single day for years before 7/7, I’m sure the majority of people would recognise the bombings as an isolated attack which is so incredibly unlikely to happen again. But if you’ve only ever been on the underground three times before in your life, is this the first thing you think of when you’re told you need to get the tube? Do you instantly get anxious and uncomfortable because of the fear of what might happen? I have friends that would light-heartedly mention ‘I hope I don’t get blown up!’ when they know they’ll be travelling on the service; but definitely with a nervous undertone.

Let’s face it, the tube doesn’t have the most friendly atmosphere at the best of times.

The truth is we’ll never know how many people that day has affected, from sadness and loss, to full blown post traumatic disorders, to specific phobias and nervousness – but it’s  undoubtedly beyond imaginable the amount of people we’re talking about.

If anything positive can be taken at all from 7/7, it’s how amazing and strong as a country we are. #WalkTogether

“People who aren’t British don’t seem to get it. But to me, the fact that by Monday we were back to beating people out of the way for a seat on the tube shows the enduring blitz spirit this city has” – Buzzfeed

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“10 years on, this is one of those days where everybody remembers exactly where they were when they heard the news, and it’s a day when we recall the incredibly resolve and resolution of Londoners and the United Kingdom; a day where we remember the threat that we still face, but above all its a day where we think of the grace and the dignity of the victim’s families for all they’ve been through and we honour the memory of those victims and all those that were lost ten years ago today” – David Cameron

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Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Imam Qari Asim, 7/7 survivor Gill Hicks and Rev Bertrand Olivier on Monday at an event at King’s Cross station to promote religious unity.

The quotes used in this post were from a fantastic article from Buzzfeed where people share their experiences on the 7/7 attacks. The article can be found by clicking here.

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15 thoughts on “7/7

  1. theloveofacaptain says:

    This is a great post. I was born and bred in London and remember this day so clearly. For a long time after the City remained on high alert. I recall, a couple of weeks after, being brought to an abrupt stop in my car at Vauxhall Bridge by Armed Police who literally cut me up. I sat there in complete fear wondering what the hell was going on! In true Brit form we will not and cannot let these nasty people win. RIP to all those lost xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Thank you. I would be an absolute wreck it sounds terrifying. I’m from Ipswich so I don’t know much about having the threat of terrorism around me, but we did have a serial killer two years later and so I understand the feeling of fearing for your life whenever you step out of the door. It’s terrifying – but let’s be thankful we’ve made it 10 years without something on that scale happening again xx

      Liked by 2 people

      • bylaurenhayley says:

        You know I read an article the other day about the anger after what happened. And it made me really sad to read what I did. Talking to the victims that survived the attack pyschologists found that most of them were more angry with themselves than they were angry with the terrorists which I just find heartbreaking. This and 9/11 were the two only examples they could find in history where this was the case. Angry that they survived when so many others didn’t, and angry that they weren’t leading good lives beforehand. One particular example that the article shared was a woman that was left injured; she was having an affair outside of her marriage when the bombs went off, and she believed she deserved them and they were her karma. So sad – noone deserves what happened to them!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. imogenjhope says:

    I agree with the other comment. Fear is what the attackers want us to feel and prevent us from going about our lives. We have to feel the fear and do it anyway in order to not let them win. Lovely thoughtful piece xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dpnoble says:

    Yours is indeed a thought provoking post. It is however not the first time we have been attacked be terrorists. Permit me if I may, to remind you of the atrocities committed by the IRA for several decades – bombs exploding in London, Manchester and Birmingham – the attack in Brighton at the Conservative Party conference and the assassination of Lord Mountbatten. You are too young to remember those dark days, when we were afraid of going into the city for fear of another random car bomb, litter bin bomb or similar. We face the same enemy today, but in different colours, our defiant response as a nation to the 7/7 attacks is the same as our defiance against the IRA. Thank you for your thoughts and for reading my own account of my day in London on 7/7.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ZOE says:

    It’s definitely traumatic for everyone on varying levels. Those who lost loved ones, those who escaped for whatever reason. I had a friend whose mom was supposed to be at the World Trade Center when that happened and she feels a lot of guilt. Why was she saved? Why did fate keep her from going and not everyone else? There are so many complex emotions involved when a country survives an attack of such massive, malicious scale that completely changes everyone. Terrorists want us to feel terror and insecurity and doubt and paranoia which is why we must try out damn hardest to continue living.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Kitty says:

    I’m American, but I remember hearing about those attacks on the news. I was in summer school that year and my teacher turned on the TV and I think CNN or one of those channels was covering it. I remember everyone was in a bit of a panic because, as you said, 9/11 was still pretty recent and we were just like, “Oh god, is it happening again?”

    I think people who weren’t directly involved (either themselves or with loved ones) can absolutely still be affected and develop some sort of fear of using that transport. I was thirteen when 9/11 happened and I remember abstractly thinking that it was horrible, but it didn’t really affect me. But, in the back of my mind I was like, “San Diego is a military city. We could easily be a target.” When I had to fly from SD to Denver a few years later all I could really think was, “This plane could get hijacked and flown right into one of the bases.”

    So, for something like the 7/7 bombings, where it wasn’t a plane but regular public transportation, I imagine that would be even more worrying. Plane hijackings are devastating, but how regularly does the average person fly? Maybe once or twice a year. What are the odds that THEIR plane will be THE plane? But something like a bus or the underground train… those are things that individuals use regularly, multiple times daily. I don’t think people would be blind to that increase in their odds and I definitely think that, even if they don’t develop an actual phobia, it’s always something that’s there in the back of their minds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Yeah I guess it is the difference between it affecting you so you think about it and letting it affect you to the point where you can no longer take a train. But like you say it’s likely that many are affected in one way or another! Both 9/11 and 7/7 were horrific beyond belief and no matter how far you are from them or what age you are they’re going to affect you. I was only 9 when 9/11 happened, and although I don’t remember the ins and outs of it on the day, I do remember it. I remember us having the news on and I remember my dad getting a phone call and being like ‘is my god somethings crashed into one of the towers’ and then getting another one a while later saying the same thing and realising something was up. They’re too big to not be apart of our lives and stay in our memories.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. dianamcqueen8914 says:

    I’m American, but I clearly remember that day. I was actually out of the country and supposed to head back into the U.S. that afternoon. I changed my flight. I remember sitting and watching the news and having the same feeling I did as on 9/11. Terror is terror.

    Liked by 1 person

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