Last evening, while I was safe at home in Texas, the news broke of the explosion at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. For a moment, my heart seemed to just squeeze in my chest. Children were at the center of another attack. Like Sandy Hook. Like Columbine. Like Oklahoma City. Like so many attacks over the years. I remember the IRA attacks in the 80s.
My next breath came with thoughts of my family in the U.K. and selfishly, I reached out. I had to know they were okay. I didn’t think they’d been anywhere near the concert, but I still had to know. Checking social media, I read the messages from friends in the U.K. including one in Manchester who marked herself safe.
Bit by bit, I began to breathe, then I wanted to cry. Because there are so many who will not have that moment of ‘relief’ and the freedom to ‘breathe.’ Their loved ones aren’t coming home. Yet, Manchester did what I have always admired about the U.K., they came together.
Hotels opened their doors to children separated from their parents. Taxi drivers worked tirelessly to help get people away from the center of danger. Shops opened to provide food and drink. The police flowed through the area and one story even showed a homeless man who rushed into the scene, and how he held a woman as she passed away in his arms.
Manchester came together to protect, and take care of their own. So many lives were lost and there will be recriminations. There will be calls for why do we let the extremists in. Why don’t we ban a religion–and they will miss the fundamental point that all who came to help in Manchester were from all walks of life and religions. They worked together because they are people.
When we let fear win, we let them win. When we embrace hate, we let the terrorists win. It sometimes feels impossible to be an optimist today, to hold onto hope, and to keep a light shining–but I refuse to give up any of them.
My grandmother once told me that when we give up even a drop of our hope, we surrender to the enemy. So I am going to embrace my hope and my optimism and keep the light shining. Today it will shine for Manchester.
For those who want to know what they can do to help, there was an article in the Metro.
Love and light to the families of those who were lost, injured and forever changed by the attack in Manchester.