IT HAD been a hectic Monday on the day of the Attack.
It was peak Election season and Theresa May had made her first campaign faux and I had been reporting this among other political nonentities all day, I’d gone to bed early for the first time in months and I missed the initial reports.
I was woken up by a call at 5am with the dreadful news and I went straight to the scene, I don’t think I had a chance to digest the reality of the events until I got home.
The drive into Manchester on the day was strange, I’ve been driven into Manchester thousands of times, but that day, everyone had a look of sadness on their faces.
But somehow, despite the news, every person managed to crack a smile at one another as they slowly crawled through the traffic jam.
I ended up getting out of the car and walking to the scene, the city had an eerie vibe to it.
On the ground, people were trying to carry on as to normal.
I just felt so defeated, the Manchester I knew was packed with people, languages, culture, and diversity. On that day – it was an eerie gosht-town in the grip of terror.
Manchester had seen terror before, the red post box that survived the 1996 IRA bomb still stood tall and that was a metaphor of how Manchester had soldiered on through past atrocities.
There was a vigil in Albert Square that night brought and it brought the city together, Manchester was a city in defiance.
In a defiant and poignant speech, the poet Tony Walsh read an Ode to Manchester.
In the north-west of England its ace, its the best and the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands, set the whole planet shaking.
Our inventions are legends, There’s nowt we can’t make and so we make it ourselves.
We make brilliant music.
we make brilliant bands.
we make goals that make soles leap from seats in the stands.
and we make things from steel
and we make things from cotton
and we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten,
and we cant seem to help it
and if you’re looking for history, then yea, we’ve a wealth
But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.
And make us a record, a new number one
And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on
and make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world
and this is the place where a Manchester girl name of Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffrage e city with sisterhood pride.
I spent all day at the scene, running on coffee, adrenaline and sheer determination never to let those bastards bring us down.
I got home and opened a bottle of wine. I’ve never chugged Rose but I can tell you that night I did.
In the days following, Politicalite was on the ground and despite the tragedy, what struck me was the way Mancunians dealt with such terror, opening their hearts, homes and businesses to those affected.
They refused to be defeated by this evil that had faced so many cities before us and will no doubt continue to.
I went across to St Annes Square, where another vigil was taking place, the power of people came to life.
There were hundreds of bouquets of flowers, balloons, cards, messages for the 22 that perished that night.
100 days may have passed since the tragedy but the 22 innocent victims of that night will never be forgotten.
There is a special programme on ITV at 9pm – Manchester: 100 Days on.
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