Ariana Grande shares heartfelt message of support one year on from the Manchester attack
One year ago today, the Manchester Arena in the UK was targeted by a suicide bomber during an Ariana Grande concert. 22 people lost their lives that night and a further 139 suffered injuries, with more than half of the victims being children.
In the wake of the attack, which was the worst terror incident the UK had seen since the 2005 7/7 bombings, thousands of people flocked to offer their support and condolences - not least Ariana herself. The singer first responded to the bombing a few hours after it happened, tweeting, "From the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words," before later going on to organize a fundraising concert for victims of the attack.
Now, the 24-year-old singer has issued another statement in commemoration of the victims:
The singer included a bee emoji in reference to the Manchester Bee - a symbol which many people got tattooed as a show of solidarity in the aftermath of the attack.
Many others will be joining Ariana today in memory of those who lost their lives last year, especially in Manchester, where there will be a vigil held at 2 pm BST today. The rest of the UK will also observe a minute's silence beginning at 2.30 pm local time.
The mayor of the city, Andy Burnham, also took to Twitter to share a message of solidarity for all those affected by the attack. He added a picture of the front page of the Manchester Evening News, which is solely dedicated to the victims. "Today we come together, we remember each of the 22 people whose lives were taken," he said, adding: "we re-commit to supporting their families & all affected."
Some survivors of the incident have also come forward to share their emotions and experiences a year later, even though many of them are still reeling with physical and emotional trauma. Adam Lawler, a 16-year-old boy, is one such person. He lost his friend, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, in the bombing, and sustained severe injuries across his entire body.
"I broke both my legs, lost seven teeth. I nearly lost my right eye. I regained vision in it thanks to the amazing doctors. I nearly lost my tongue," he said in an interview with the BBC;
"If I could go back in time, I would change everything. But I can't, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to try and live my best life.
"We won't be beaten because we're Manchester."
One of the loudest messages being pushed today is "don't let hate win". In the aftermath of the attack, the UK saw a spike in violence against certain minority demographics. A year on, however, those who are commemorating the lives lost are determined to promote an ideal of love and inclusivity - an act of defiance in the face of an act which clearly sought to divide people.
In the time that has passed since the bombing, the city has gone from strength to strength in supporting its residents, the people who were affected by the attack, and all those who reacted to the news from around the world. Ariana Grande is just one person who has offered her condolences today - but everyone who has something positive to offer for Manchester at this time is certainly appreciated.