The Duke of Cambridge attends service to mark one year anniversary of Manchester Arena attack

The Duke of Cambridge attended the Manchester Arena National Service of Commemoration on Tuesday, to observe the one year anniversary of the terrorist bombing attack at Manchester Arena.

It was just last May, when the coward Salman Abedi, detonated a homemade suicide bomb inside an Ariana Grande concert. The venue was filled with adoring fans, many of whom were just innocent children enjoying a fun night out. Due to this horrific, terrorist act, 22 concertgoers tragically lost their lives while over 800 additional people were left with scars, not only physical but mental as well.

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Many in the crowd cheered for The Queen’s grandson as he arrived at the cathedral for the multi-faith service. William was greeted by religious leaders as well as dignitaries before entering the church.

Taking part in the ceremony were Rabbi Warren Elf, Imam Irfan Chishti, Sukhbir Singh, and humanist Dr. Kevin Malone. As he led the ceremony at Manchester Cathedral, the Right Reverend David Walker honoured the 22 victims by expressing : “You who were hurt or bereaved 12 months ago today are forever a part of Manchester and forever a part of us.”

Delicately lighting the altar of the church, were 22 candles, each representing one precious life so brutally taken in this despicable act of violence. An additional candle was lit to represent the 800 injured individuals, families of the victims, and the emergency personnel, including first responders, who so heroically ran in to help during the bombing. Each one of the candles was created from the thousands of tribute candles that had been placed at St. Ann’s Square , just after the attack last year.

In addition to The Duke, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn also were on hand to pay their respects at the ceremony.

During the emotional service, Prince William read a passage out of the Bible, from the Book of Corinthians. William read: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we see face to face. Now I know only in part, then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these there; and the greatest of these is love.”

A moment of silence was observed by the entire nation at 2:30pm, and was finished off by a spontaneous thunder of applause from the hundreds of citizens who had gathered in the Cathedral’s Gardens. A solitary balloon in the shape of a bee was then released into the blue, clear sky. The bee is the emblem of the city of Manchester but in the aftermath of the senseless catastrophe, it has become a symbol of the community’s  solidarity.

After the conclusion of the service, The Duke of Cambridge and the other political leaders made their way outside to the “Trees of Hope’.  The trees consist of 28 Japanese Maple trees that form a trail, leading from St. Ann’s Square down to the Victoria Rail and Tram Station. Each tree is decorated with special message tags that visitors and townspeople have written and lovingly left in remembrance. Prince William, Theresa May, and many of the other delegates and leaders all left messages on the trees. William also met in private with a number of the victim’s families after the service.

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As evening fell, a crowd of almost 15,000 gathered at Albert Square to partake in the Manchester Together With One Voice event. This mass sing-a-long included over 2800 singers from local choirs. One of the groups that performed was the Manchester Survivors Choir, whose members were all in the arena during the attack and by God’s grace left with their lives.

At the stroke of 10:31pm, bells from around the city centre chimed out in the still night air, to mark the exact moment that the device exploded and decimated countless lives in the process. Concluding the mass sing-a-long was the exceedingly poignant song by The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.”  This day , the city of Manchester did in fact prove to the world that love is all they need.

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