7/7 + 15
So I actually managed to forget about the 4th of July until I was actually out running around Kensington, seeing the wide array of Stars & Stripes gear on display or else I probably would have worn my American flag “Feel the Johnson” campaign shirt.
But I managed to remember the anniversary of the 7/7 attacks the 15th anniversary, in fact and donned my usual running shirt for the day, now sadly denuded. It of course used to say “Still Not Afraid” having supplanted a near-identical version, now fallen to shreds, that merely read, “Not Afraid” and headed out to run in Hyde Park… slowing and taking my headphones out when I got to the 7/7 Memorial. I try to stop by there every year.
Unexpectedly, it was totally deserted I had the place to myself. But as on so many previous occasions, the memorial plaque was covered in beautiful wreaths of living flowers, all with cards attached left there by the MPS, the LFB, LAS, London County Council, BTP, City of London Police, Sadiq Khan the Mayor… and also from No. 10. Boris hand-wrote:
We remember those who were injured.
We defy those who would divide us.
There were also the usual scatterings of notes and flowers from those who had lost people. When I'd read them all, I retired to the grass slope behind it, and sat down, just to contemplate, and take it all in.
A few minutes after I did, there appeared a youthful-looking middle-aged man in a ballcap with a greying beard, approaching along with a super-floofy pooch on a lead, carrying an armload of flowers. He knelt down and proceeded to lay these long, lovely, frondy, kind of exotic looking flowers on the memorial plaque, in and around the others. Then he went back in amongst the 52 columns, and laid a final boquet against one. Finally, he posed his pooch, took the lead off, stepped back and took a photo. After that, the dog went off and frolicked in the tall and uncut grass, while his human sat down in the shorter grass nearby, evidently also to reflect, just as I was doing.
When he finally got up to leave, he flashed me a thumbs-up, and I waved back. On their way out, the dog found something small and ball-like to play with. And his human danced a little jig around him, kicking it back. Playing.