For some reason the 7/7 anniversary always sneaks up on me in a way 9/11 doesn't. Luckily for me, my regular running route takes me directly beside the 7/7 Memorial, tucked in the SE corner of Hyde Park. And there, every year, as they did today, the massed flowers and notes on the hillside overlooking it tell the tale.
I stopped and read as many of the notes as had survived the rain, and surveyed the riot of sunflowers that had been laid at the ceremony two days ago.
I looked, in vain, for the poem written to one of the victims by her sister, which I had seen in years past. One note, attached to a bunch of roses, and the one that did me in, read: "To C-----, We love you and miss you so much. Mum and Dad."
I also found that someone had written out, by hand, the conclusion of then-Mayor of London Ken Livingston's remarkable speech on the day. (Video here, full text here.)
"They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the mayor of that city.
I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.
I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.
In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.
They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."
Here in the science fiction year of 2012, with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, a Londoner in the finals of Wimbledon, and most particularly the 2012 Summer Olympic Games not to mention the rest of the year in London life: the Chelsea Flower Show, summer season at the Globe, Royal Ascot, the Proms, Notting Hill Carnival, Eid, Diwali, the Great British Beer Festival, Picasso at Tate Britain, the Mayor's Thames Festival, London Jazz Festival, London Film Festival, and on and on and on nothing could more obvious than that Ken had it exactly right.
Though the dead are still dead, and we grieve for and honour them.