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Monday 22nd May 2017 will be a date etched in the minds of the people of Manchester and the wider community, forever. Thousands of Ariana Grande fans had flocked excitedly to the Manchester Arena for a music concert, never knowing nor expecting their lives would be changed forever.
As the events unfolded we heard countless stories of incredible bravery, kindness and support as cabbies raced around the city, hotels flung open their doors and first responders and hospital staff worked around the clock to treat and comfort those caught up in the horrific and frightening events of that night.
A year after the atrocious events that saw 22 people killed, hundreds injured or maimed and thousands left with the mental scars of what happened that night, Manchester City Council has released plans as to how the city will once again stand in solidarity to remember, reflect and celebrate the lives of loved ones who didn’t come home.
In a quote to the Manchester Evening News, Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester council, said: “The horrific events of 22 May shocked not just this city but the world. Those who lost loved ones, and those who were left physically or mentally injured, will always have a place in our thoughts and we will never forget the 22 people, including children, whose lives were taken away.
“The aftermath of the attack also saw a remarkable display of solidarity and love in and for Manchester, a refusal to let those who would divide us to get their twisted way.
“Even as we grieved, we were proud to stand resiliently together.”
On the anniversary itself, Tuesday 22nd May 2018, there will be a national minutes silence at 2:30pm alongside a civic service at Manchester Cathedral, attended by bereaved families, first responders and national figureheads. This service will also be shown on a big screen at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral.
A tree trail, which has been planted through the city and named, Trees of Hope, invites member of the public to attach messages to remember those who died or were affected. There are 22 trees between Victoria Station and ST Ann’s Square.
There is also a free concert at Albert Square in the evening, Manchester Together-One Voice from 7:30pm featuring around 3,000 singers including the Manchester Survivors Choir. The public is invited to join in the 30 minute singalong and belt out Oasis hit “Don’t Look Back In Anger” among other carefully chosen tracks to mark the 1st anniversary.
Church bells will ring out across the city at 10:31pm, marking the exact moment the bomb was set off, a year earlier, while song lyrics, chosen by the bereaved families, will be projected onto St Ann’s Church and St Ann’s Square, in a moving tribute.
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