Sublime Heroism after the Manchester Attack

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"[The people of Manchester have] a sublime [Christian] heroism, which has not been surpassed in any age or any country." --from Abraham Lincoln's 1863 letter to the workers of Manchester
It is hard to work today; hard to carry on because my city has been tainted with the cowardice of terrorism. Because children who should have been floating on that post-concert euphoria, singing at the top of their lungs and dancing in the streets were screaming and in tears and running for their lives. And I am angry that someone would think so little of their precious lives to act in such a cowardly way.

We live within two miles of the M.E.N. We have traipsed up the stairs from Victoria Station past the platforms of commuters up the ramp to the venue and down into the belly of the event space, surrounded by thousands of innocent people as we sang and danced to Florence and the Machine, to Stevie Wonder, to Train, to Depeche Mode, to The Cure .... the list goes on and on. That arena is my arena. If a big show comes to town, that's where we go. A place we have been to countless times; a place that is at the very heart of Manchester--literally and figuratively. And that place was under attack last night.

I went to bed last night having just heard about an explosion but feeling reassured that it had just been speakers, that nothing serious had happened. Around 2:30 or 3 in the morning, my phone nearly buzzed itself off of my nightstand with the number of messages, missed calls, Facebook posts from friends and family in the States, wondering if we were okay, while we slept oblivious to it all.

It wasn't us last night, so far it looks like it wasn't anyone we know (although it's still too early to say for certain) but it could have been. Going to a show at the M.E.N. is a part of our lives. Being around the M.E.N. whether we're at a show or not isn't uncommon for us. It's a stone's throw away from a shopping center. Across the street from a cinema. Behind what used to be the coolest contemporary arts museum in the North of England, yards away from the Manchester wheel (when we actually have one).

But it doesn't have to be us to be heartbreaking. Manchester is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. There are over 200 different languages spoken in Manchester every day. We are used to living and working beside people from any country, any culture, any religion, any race, any gender, any sexual orientation. We have always been and will always be a kick ass, United City.

In all seriousness, this is Manchester. We overcome adversity. We rise above. We support one another. We love each other. We embrace difference. We are welcoming. We thrive. And we'll continue to do so. This isn't Manchester's first terrorist attack and even if it's not the last, we'll move forward, keeping the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers, showing the world what sublime heroism we're made of.

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