It's been a year. That went quickly. A year since people, just out for a good night at a gig were killed or maimed or mentally scarred by a coward. 22 dead, all of them far too young. More than 800 injured. And let's not beat about the bush here: for those that were there, the road to recovery, mental and physical, is a long one.
And this city is, as it always has been, resolute in the face of the bastards and the cowards, the monsters and the maladjusts who would try to bring it to it's knees. My adopted hometown is going to fall silent today to remember the lost, and think of the wounded. And there will be tears, and sorrow, and grief. Wounds like that heal, but they leave scars.
But this is Manchester. We do things differently here. This is a city that's faced down worse in its time, and stood with its head held high every single day.
I'm reminded of how Japanese Honey Bees defend their hives against hornets: they form a ball around the invader and, well, cook it. Mancunians — whose symbol has, for 175 years, bee a worker bee — gang together too, but with love and kindness and understanding and a togetherness that's a wonder to behold.
I love this town. I love its people. I love the staccato of the northern voices in the streets, the rumble of the derby days and the gentle susurrus in the city's squares on a sun-drenched* summer lunchtime. I'm proud to be one of its residents, one generation removed from being an actual Manc as I am.
Anniversaries like this are awful, and sad, and hopeful, and full of love. And there's no love like Northern love. Not anywhere in the world.
Peace to you all, Manchester. Chin up, r kid.
So come at us again, and again if you must,
Time after time we'll rise from the dust,
You'll never prevail, not against us,
This is Manchester, our Manchester
And the bees still buzz
*Sometimes just drenched. It's Manchester, after all