6th July 2005.
London are announced as the host city for the 2012 Olympics. Cue celebrations and partying from those keen to hold the biggest sporting event in the world, and cynicism and moaning from those who don’t want millions of extra tourists flocking to London. Businesses in the area are glad for the extra trade that will be coming in, even though they’ll have to fight through a recession and still survive another three years if they want the benefits. Londoners worry about how much it’s going to cost them in tax increases, and how busy their city is going to be. Mancunians think they held the 2002 Commonwealth Games better than London can ever hold the Olympics. The overall mood is, however, pretty positive. At least, that’s the government’s stance on it.
7th July 2005.
Four bombs blow Britain’s happy mood apart in an instant. 52 people die in the terrorist attacks on London’s transport system. Mobile phone networks are clogged as people call relatives, desperate to hear if loved ones were hurt or not. Emergency services from all over London race to the city centre. People are trapped in London as they are unable to commute back home. The government declare it a dreadful thing to happen.
Everyone has memories of key moments in history. I remember watching the news and seeing London clinch the Olympic bid, not really fully understanding it all but knowing that something big was going to be coming to my city. Little did I know that something else big was going to hit it the next day, albeit in a totally different way. I remember people in the corridor at school, saying a bomb had gone off in London, and trying to ring their parents. I remember hearing about it on the radio on a friend’s mobile phone at lunchtime, and thinking about it on the walk home, thankful my parents didn’t work in London. I remember being told my dad was up there with his ambulance crewmate, and my mum had to take me out on the bus that evening. Neither of us had to pay; I think they made buses free to try and encourage people to still use them.
Two days in July2005 have changed the face of Britain, especially its capital. The renovations to prepare for the Olympics have created a new, modern feel to the city, but the reminders of the disaster keep a firm link to the past and a horror that won’t be forgotten. A true example of how a nation’s mood, and outlook on life, can change overnight.