Published May 2017 by Leanne Millar BSc

My thoughts and feelings of the MEN Arena bombing

Over the past week, I have found myself in deep reflection. This was triggered mainly by the atrocities that took place in Manchester on the 22nd of May 2017.

When I first heard (around twenty minutes after the explosion), my initial reaction was that of worry for my family, friends and people that I care about whom live, work or regularly visit Manchester. My second reaction was HOW CAN I HELP?

I realised that travelling over to Manchester would probably not help, I’d probably just get in the way. I issued a plea for people to go to their local blood donation clinic. I retweeted messages from loved ones looking for their families. In all honesty, I felt pretty useless.

Over the next few days, I realised that I was not the only one. Every person I spoke to wanted to help in one way or another but were unsure how they could. All everyone knew unequivocally was that we were there if we were needed.

As a nation, we are currently licking our wounds, burying our fallen and standing together in support. This togetherness, this support, this makes me proud to be British in 2017. I would like to express a few words of gratitude to the amazing emergency services team who put their own lives in danger to help save the lives of others. Who literally stepped into a war zone to pick up the fallen and prevent the bad guys doing any more damage. I say, ‘bad guys’ because I really do not feel like their (brand) should be allowed publicity. What an amazing public service team we have.

My heart goes out to all of those who have been affected. My deepest sympathies are with the families of the fallen. However, I urge people to not forget about those who survived. It is not just physical injury which can leave a scar. Those who witnessed those atrocities will no doubt find them replaying over and over in their minds. This kind of traumatic stress stays with a person throughout their lives. As a community, we need to help these people learn to live with what they have witnessed, support them in times of unexplainable fear. Understand and be patient with them when they need us to be. Not just in the next few weeks or months but in years to come when the rest of the world see’s this as a distant memory and those that were there that night feeling as though it was yesterday.

All those that stood with me in feeling useless last week, this is when we can help. When for everyone else it is yesterday’s news, it is then when we will be needed.

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