Manchester Remembers Victims of Ariana Grande Arena Bombing One Year On

Cross faith group #TurnToLove walk outside The Manchester Arena National Service of Commemoration at Manchester Cathedral on May 22, 2018 in Manchester, England.
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Cross faith group #TurnToLove walk outside The Manchester Arena National Service of Commemoration at Manchester Cathedral on May 22, 2018 in Manchester, England. 

Thousands of people gathered in Manchester today to remember those killed and injured in last year’s suicide bomb attack outside an Ariana Grande concert. 

22 people died in the attack, many of them children, and more than 800 people were injured. One year on from the atrocity, a series of events are taking place across the city to mark the first anniversary.   

Earlier today, Prince William and Prime Minister Theresa May joined the families of victims at a special remembrance service held at Manchester Cathedral, also attended by first responders to the scene, survivors of the attack, multi-faith leaders and national politicians. 

"We remember with love before God those whose lives were lost - and those whose lives have been changed forever and have to live with the terrible memories of that day 12 months ago," said Dean of Manchester Rogers Govender during the service, which was relayed to crowds of people watching on screens in the Cathedral gardens - located next to Manchester Arena, where Salman Abedi detonated a homemade bomb.

Large numbers of people -- many wearing T-shirts embossed with 'We Love Manchester’ or the worker bee symbol that has historically been an emblem of the city -- also congregated in nearby St. Ann’s Square and Albert Square to observe a national minute’s silence.

For some, the memories of one year ago proved too much and several people could be seen breaking down in tears and being consoled by friends and family during the service. Others held banners promoting messages of love, solidarity and togetherness.   

Other tributes and signs of remembrance can be seen all throughout the city. Lining the route from Victoria Station to St Ann's Square a "Trees of Hope" trail has been created, consisting of 28 Japanese maple trees onto which members of the public have hung thousands of messages of support. 

One reads: "Gone but never will we forget." Another dedicated to 28-year-old staffer John Atkinson, who was one of those killed in the attack, says, "though you may be out of sight, you live forever in my heart and mind." 

Photos and touching personal dedications to other victims of the bombing, along with floral tributes, line the city streets. In Victoria Station, rail passengers have been invited to write their thoughts and memories on "Stronger Together" boards, while messages of unity can be seen in numerous shop windows and hanging from office buildings. 

As expected given the global profile of the remembrance commemorations, a high police and security presence is visible throughout the city, with armed officers patrolling transport hubs, public spaces and the main places of remembrance.     

Later today, more than 3,000 singers from local choirs will take part in a special music concert outside Manchester Town Hall entitled "Manchester Together - With One Voice"

Among those performing are the Manchester Survivors Choir, a group made up of people who were at the Ariana Grande show on May 22 last year. Also singing is Parrs Wood High School's Harmony Group, who made headlines around the world when they performed alongside Grande at last year’s One Love Manchester charity concert, held just two weeks after the attack. 

Songs confirmed for what's intended to be a singalong event include Grande’s "One Last Time," "One Day Like This" by Elbow, "Don’t Look Back In Anger" by Oasis and "Never Forget" by Take That. 

Although not present in Manchester, Grande tweeted this morning that she was "thinking of you all today and every day."

"I love you with all of me and am sending you all of the light and warmth I have to offer on this challenging day," said the singer.

The remembrance commemorations are scheduled to end at 2231 BST when church bells will ring across the city, marking the exact moment when the attack took place 12 months ago.

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