LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s words this morning at a service in St Margaret’s Church to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the terror attacks on Westminster Bridge and New Palace Yard.
I want to begin by thanking the Manchester Survivors Choir for their absolutely beautiful singing, and the spirit in which they communicated their sense of resilience with us this morning.
That’s what I want to talk about, because in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us that:
“…when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
‘Death is swallowed up in victory.
‘O death, where is thy sting?
‘O grave, where is thy victory?’”
And so today, five years on from this tragedy that touched so many, I join you not to mourn. Nor to add more tears to those already shed.
Instead I am here to celebrate the lives of Andreea, Aysha, Kurt and Leslie. They were each taken from us far too soon.
But they each live on in all our hearts and in the memories of those they loved, and those who loved them around the world. Because as the Lord Mayor was just saying, the diversity of their origins shows the truth that an attack on London, like an attack on Manchester, is an attack on the world.
I am here to celebrate the extraordinary heroism of PC Keith Palmer.
A man whose actions that bright spring day showed him to be truly the best among us, and whose courage and sacrifice remain an inspiration to us all.
I am here to celebrate the skill and bravery of PC Palmer’s colleagues who risked themselves to save countless lives, and who, in many cases, are even today still putting themselves between the innocent and those who would do us harm.
I am here to celebrate the selflessness and compassion of everyone who rushed to the aid of strangers that day.
Paramedics, commuters, tourists, MPs who didn’t cross over the road but put themselves in harm’s way to help others in their moment of need.
And I am here to celebrate our capital London. This unique city. This fantastic city. Which over so many centuries has taken whatever anyone cares to throw at it, and has emerged ever stronger, brighter and greater.
And that is thanks to the incomparable spirit of the people within it, and that is the spirit that we remember as we celebrate today.